What Are Hazardous Woods? | How To Dispose Hazardous Woods

Hazardous wood waste, what is it?

Hazardous wood waste disposal

What are hazardous woods?

Wood that is used in commercial and industrial applications is commonly treated with preserving chemicals. This protection is applied to help safeguard the wood from threats that include insect attacks and fungal decay. Certain wood treatment chemicals can pose a risk to human health, and the environment, which is why the treated waste wood may be classed as a hazardous waste.

For help in determining if your waste wood is hazardous, please call our team on 01202 331560.

In this article, we explain what hazardous woods are, how to identify them and what steps should be taken to correctly dispose of waste wood that has been treated.

Hazardous wood waste is commonly produced when treated wood is removed from service.

Recognisable forms of treated ‘hazardous wood’ waste include; railway sleepers, telegraph poles and creosote treated wood. Typically, it is not possible to dispose of treated woods at standard commercial and household recycling centres.

Treated wood that is hazardous needs to be disposed of at a special facility, which is licensed to accept hazardous waste.

How do you identify hazardous woods?

As a general rule, treated wood is easy to recognise. Wood that is treated with creosote or chlorophenolic formulations is often darker in colour and will have a ‘chemical’ or ‘smoky’ odour. Whereas wood that is ‘pressure treated’ with inorganic preservatives can usually be identified by a characteristic ‘greenish’ colour.

Depending on the wood treatment method used, cresols, chromium, chlorophenols or arsenic may be present in high enough concentrations to exceed UK regulatory limits for disposing of the wood waste in ‘ordinary’ mixed waste disposal consignments, such as general waste skips or roro (rollonoff containers).

To learn more about how to identify and safely dispose of your waste, please call our friendly team on 01202 331560.

What about other types of wood waste? How is wood recycled?

The appropriate methods and locations required in the management of wood waste are dependent on the ‘grade’ of wood requiring disposal. According to the Wood Recyclers Association, most waste wood will fall into one of the following four main grades:

Grade A ‘Clean Wood’

Common sources include – pallets, packaging, distribution, retailers and secondary manufacturing.

Types of waste wood accepted as Grade A include – hardwood packaging, scrap pallets, packing cases, solid softwood, off cuts and cable drums.

How to dispose of Grade A waste wood? This type of wood waste can typically be disposed of at any recycling facilities that accepts wood waste. Grade A wood can be recycled and is often used to produce animal bedding and mulches.

Grade B ‘Industrial Feedstock Grade’ (Grade A) +

Common sources include – construction, demolition and transfer stations.

Types of waste wood accepted as Grade B include – building waste wood, demolition waste wood and domestic furniture made from solid wood.

How to dispose of Grade B waste wood? This type of wood waste can usually be disposed of at any recycling facilities which accept wood waste. Grade B wood can be recycled to produce panelboard.

Grade C “Fuel Grade” (Grade A, B) +

Common sources include – recycled and municipal collections.

Types of wood waste accepted as Grade C include – flat pack furniture, fencing, chipboard, MDF, plywood and fibreboard.

How to dispose of Grade C waste wood? This type of wood waste can typically be disposed of at any recycling facilities which accept wood waste. Grade C wood can be reused to produce biomass fuel.

Grade D “Hazardous Wood Waste” (Grade A, B, C) +

Common sources include – chemical treated waste wood and contaminated woods.

Types of wood waste accepted as Grade D include – railway sleepers, transmission poles, fences and cooling towers.

How to dispose of Grade D ‘hazardous’ wood? This type of wood waste can only be disposed of at specialist facilities that are licensed to accept hazardous waste, such as our Canford Recycling Centre, Wimborne, Dorset.

How do you dispose of Grade D ‘hazardous woods’ safely?

The Environment Agency regulatory position statement (RPS 207), Classifying Waste Wood From Mixed Sources, specifies that you must segregate hazardous waste wood and consign it as hazardous. Consigned hazardous woods must be correctly transported and disposed of at an appropriate facility, such as our recycling centre in Wimborne.

Unable to transport your waste to a licensed facility? If you are a business or individual in Dorset with hazardous wood waste that requires disposal, we are able to collect the waste from your site or home and transport it to Canford Recycling Centre. For more information on our hazardous waste collection service, please call our knowledgeable hazardous waste experts on 01202 331560.

Railway sleepers, hazardous wood waste

Commercial Recycling can safely dispose of hazardous wood waste

Our local recycling centre in Wimborne, Dorset, can accept all major types of hazardous waste,  including: 

Common types of hazardous waste wood accepted at Canford Recycling Centre include:

  • Railway sleepers
  • Utility poles
  • Telegraph poles
  • Creosote wood waste
  • Demolition wood waste
  • CCA wood waste (chromated copper arsenate)
  • Tanalised wood waste (plywoods, chipboard and MDF)
  • Marine timber waste

If you have hazardous waste wood that you would like us to dispose of, or would like to know more, call our friendly team of experts on 01202 331560, or click to contact us online.

Let's work together