A sharp increase in material recycling of waste wood

In the first five months of 2021, Geminor can point to solid growth in the treatment and export of waste wood. Material recycling of wood is up by 22,5 percent compared to the same period last year.

Waste wood ready for barge transport in Germany.

Geminor’s treatment and cross-border transport of waste wood have increased significantly between January and June this year. In total, the fraction has grown by 33,200 tonnes – or 32 percent – compared to the same period last year.

At the same time, the proportion of waste wood that goes to material recycling – primarily for panelboard production – has increased by as much as 22,5 percent in the same period.

COO at Geminor, Ralf Schöpwinkel.

We expect the growth within wood fractions to continue, says COO in Geminor, Ralf Schöpwinkel.

– State requirements for more material recycling of wood, better capacity for material recycling, as well as an increase in general business activity, are the main reasons for the growth we are seeing. This leads to more treatment, storage, and export of waste wood in Europe. Except for our largest market Norway, we have growth in Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the UK, says Schöpwinkel.

– The waste wood fraction is the most developed waste stream in a circular economy perspective, and we will facilitate growth within this fraction in several markets. In Germany, we have established two new HUBs – one in Wilhelmshaven and one in Brunsbüttel. Material recycling of wood will not be optimal without focusing on sustainable transport solutions – whether this is ships, trucks, or barges on the canals in Europe, says Schöpwinkel.

Waste wood for energy recovery is also growing, the Chief Operating Officer of Geminor explains.

– In Finland, we are seeing a growth in impregnated wood. This is exported to Germany due to a lack of national energy recovery capacity. In Poland, there is an increase in the export of railway sleepers, which is creosote-treated wood. Like the Finnish wood, this is exported to Germany for energy recovery, says Schöpwinkel.

Common international standard

In March this year, Geminor launched the international database GemiLAB, which makes it possible to register the content – and assess the quality – of waste wood shipments. The database will help to increase the quality of waste wood for recycling by creating better sorting routines for waste wood in Europe.

Inge Raymond Langhelle is Senior Account Manager and waste wood expert at Geminor. He believes that a common international quality standard for waste wood will contribute to improving material recycling and energy recovery in Europe.

Inge Raymond Langhelle at Geminor.

– Through our regional analysis and checks we see a variation in the quality of wood factions depending on, among other things, the country of origin. This often has to do with different routines for processing and recovery. Better quality of waste wood for recycling will help streamline the circular economy of wood in Europe, which is why we are working to achieve a common quality standard for waste wood, says Langhelle.

– By being present in several countries, we can assess the entire market continuously. This will help us to find synergies and to establish a best practice both within treatment, logistics, and cross-border transport, concludes Inge Raymond Langhelle in Geminor.

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