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Wood Waste Exports & Treatment Summary

December 2018

As well as baled waste in the form of RDF, over 200,000 tonnes of wood waste has been exported in the past year under EWC code 19 12 07. That is not dissimilar in order of magnitude to Secondary Recovered Fuels (SRF) heading overseas as a fuel for cement works.

Tracking these wood exports on a rolling annual tonnage basis, it is apparent that Sweden receives the greatest volume by far:

Exports to Sweden are seemingly holding steady, at around 220,000 tonnes per annum. Volumes to other countries have declined, now collectively accounting for barely 30,000 tonnes between them.

Taking a look at the companies who are receiving the waste wood, Sweden's EFO AB takes centre-stage, accounting for 85% of all waste wood exported from England under the 19 12 07 code:

One might wonder whether all waste wood is incinerated. Certainly, the vast majority of wood waste being exported is for energy recovery purposes. Nonetheless, in reality, exports only account for 9% of English wood waste 19 12 07, and it is certainly not the case that it is simply incinerated irrespective of where it ends up:

Like all EWC codes, EWC 19 12 07 represents a breadth of formats of wood, with varying degrees of contamination. On a skip-by-skip basis, some of the wood may be recoverable, whereas much will be deemed too low-value or contaminated to be of any alternative use other than for energy recovery. To make use of this resource, a number of new biomass-dedicated energy-from-waste facilities have opened in recent years, which has had the effect of reducing the volume of wood waste being exported. So, while "Outside UK" still represents the single-largest incineration destination, there are EfW options across the whole of the UK, with Scotland and Yorkshire & Humber particularly prevalent:

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