How to Recycle Wood?
Recycling wood involves diverting wood debris from landfills and finding alternative uses for it. Through recycling, wood can be transformed into new products or utilized for energy generation, contributing to environmental sustainability and resource conservation.
1. Collecting Discarded Wood Products
At DTG, there are specific guidelines for the types of wood that can be accepted and recycled. Clean wood, such as construction lumber, pallets, and untreated fencing that is ready to be ground, is permitted. Wood loads containing a maximum of 5% painted (no lead), pressure-treated, or creosote-treated wood are also accepted. Chipped trees and branches, as well as brush, stumps, and logs from land clearing without dirt, can be recycled as well.
Additionally, we accept plywood, chipboard, MDF, glulam, and pressure-treated, painted, nailed, or glued wood, as long as they are source separated. It’s important to note that pressure-treated wood is not accepted in the source separated wood category. By adhering to these guidelines, DTG promotes efficient and responsible wood recycling practices.
Wood debris is sorted based on its type and quality. This helps ensure that the recycling process can be tailored accordingly. Sorting of wood during the recycling process is typically done in accordance with various wood grades. The specific wood grades can vary depending on regional or industry standards, but here are a few commonly recognized grades:
- Grade A: High-quality, clean, and untreated wood, often referred to as “clean wood.” It includes solid wood pieces, such as lumber or pallets, without any coatings, contaminants, or preservatives.
- Grade B: Slightly lower quality than Grade A, but still suitable for recycling. It may include painted or lightly treated wood, plywood, or composite wood products.
- Grade C: Lower-quality wood, often mixed with other materials or heavily treated. This grade can include laminates, particle board, or heavily coated and painted wood.
- Grade D: Hazardous material – This includes all grades of wood, including treated material such as fencing and trackwork, and requires disposal at special facilities.
3. Removing Contaminants
Any non-wood materials or contaminants, such as metal nails or screws, are removed from the wood debris. This step is important to prevent damage to the recycling equipment and ensure the quality of the recycled wood.
4. Primary Shredding
The sorted wood debris is fed into a primary shredder, which breaks it down into smaller pieces or chips. This shredding process facilitates subsequent handling and processing.
When primary shredding wood, some common contaminants that may need to be removed include:
- Metal fasteners: Nails, screws, staples, or any metal components attached to the wood.
- Paint or coatings: Wood that has been painted, stained, or treated with varnish or other coatings.
- Adhesives: Glue, adhesives, or tape residues that are stuck to the wood.
- Plastic or rubber: Pieces of plastic or rubber materials, such as packaging or gaskets, that are mixed with the wood.
- Glass: Small glass fragments or shards that may be present in the wood.
- Rocks and soil: Small stones or soil particles that have become mixed with the wood debris.
The shredded wood material is screened to separate different sizes and remove any remaining impurities or contaminants. This step helps achieve a more uniform product.
6. Secondary (Fine) Shredding/Granulating into Wood Mulch
The wood chips or pieces are further processed through secondary shredding or granulating machines to create wood mulch or other products. Fine shredding ensures a consistent particle size and enhances the suitability of the wood for specific applications, such as landscaping, animal bedding, or biomass energy production.