To have an idea of how these factors can affect the development of a wood waste value chain, one can look at the recent evolution of this sector in France. Since 2015, France has significantly improved the knowledge of wood waste, and this has helped to improve the rate of its valorisation. In many parts of Europe, where landfilling is not restricted or unincentivized, the valorisation rate of wood waste is low and can be improved significantly. By adopting a restrictive approach to landfilling, France is now seriously tackling this issue.
The first campaign to characterize wood waste in the French construction and demolition sector was conducted by the SEDDRE (building and civil engineering federation) in 2015. More than 100 phisycal-chemical analyses allowed for the characterization of the different categories of wood waste from C&D.
Between 2016 and 2018 a second major wood waste characterization campaign was conducted in Normandy and the Paris area, an initiative of several actors in France, including the Environmental Agency (ADEME), local industries (UPM, LINEX, Biofuels SAS, SUEZ) and local engineering companies (CEDEN, Biomass Normandy, CRITT Logistics), under the program ECIRBEN (Circular Economy of Wood Energy in Normandy).
About sixty physical-chemical analyses (PCI, moisture, heavy metals, PCP, PCBs, PAHs, organo-chlorines, etc.) were carried out on different categories of wood (construction, furniture, households) and a combustion test was performed at the UPM paper mill in Rouen. As in the previous study, the impact of the screening on the quality of the resulting products was studied. In addition, characterizations by type of wood waste (particle board, solid wood, OSB, MDF, etc.) have made it possible to show and to confirm differences between the different wood origins.
This program has helped to build the confidence of local industrials on the quality and quantity of the available wood waste resource. Thanks to this many industrial projects are being developed in Normandy today, with an estimated demand of several hundred thousand tons of wood waste, both for energy use and for recycling in the manufacturing of panelboards.
As an extension of this campaign, the two French eco-organizations in charge of furniture waste, namely Eco-Mobilier for households and Valdelia for industrial wood waste, have launched a new campaign to characterize wood waste from furniture. This study is being carried out under the supervision of the INERIS (National Institute for the Industrial Environment and Risks) and under the umbrella of the Ministry of the Environment. More than 300 furniture wood waste sample analyses and 2 industrial combustion tests were performed, in order to optimize the process conditions for the energy recovery this resource. In the short term, this campaign could facilitate the “end of waste status” of wood waste.
Thanks to these characterization campaigns it was possible to create a database of more than 800 wood waste analyses, including the results of the three recent French studies, in addition to results provided by ECN-TNO (Energy Research Center of the Netherlands), FCBA and other operators.