News in Brief | CIWM Business Partner Update

TOMRA and IKEA explore the future of wood recycling in recent webcast

Wood recycling

TOMRA recently held a 45-minute webcast, The Future of Wood Recycling, where TOMRA’s wood recycling team and a material expert from IKEA outlined how a circular economy for wood can become a reality and a profitable business case for the panel industry.

During TOMRA’s webcast, participants from all over the world listened to presentations from Jose Matas, Segment Manager of Wood at TOMRA; Murat Sanli, Wood Sales Engineer at TOMRA; and Jan-Olof Fechter, Material Expert and Technique Engineer at IKEA of Sweden AB. The expert panel provided an overview of the market, challenges and solutions to bring wood full circle.

Matas kicked off the session by explaining current market trends influenced by the energy crisis in Europe, the impacts of climate change and the industry’s increased reliance on recycled content to meet its sustainability targets.

“The energy crisis is hitting hard on us in Europe. Many households turn to wood as an alternative heating source, therefore further driving up the already record-high demand for wood”, highlighted Matas. “Combined with the general lack of materials on the market, sourcing wood in sufficient volumes and qualities has become increasingly difficult and prices are at an all-time high.”

He added that to access material and maintain profitable operations, the panel board industry has recognised the possibilities a circular treatment for wood offers. If the massive amounts of waste wood generated annually are properly collected, sorted and recycled into individual material fractions, he said that both recyclers and wood-based panel manufacturers can reap commercial benefits.

Many households turn to wood as an alternative heating source, therefore further driving up the already record-high demand for wood.

The audience was also given an insight into the manufacturer’s perspective with Jan-Olof Fechter outlining how IKEA incorporates sustainability and recycling into its business and what the company’s long-term goals look like in terms of recycled content.

“To date, only 1% of furniture is reused but 99% (which equates to 800,000 metric tons of furniture) is recycled. These figures prove that recycling processes are in place and already supporting us on our way to producing greener products. However, there is still untapped potential we must start to access”, explained Fechter.

Afterwards, he explained IKEA’s recycled content targets for panel boards and MDF/HDF boards for the future.

After the first two speakers explained the benefits of a circular economy for wood, Murat Sanli explained how a holistic approach can maximise recycled wood content.

“To exploit the full potential of recycled wood, we must concentrate on three pillars: the collection, sorting and recycling of waste wood”, explained Sanli.

As outlined by Fechter, manufacturers are striving to become more sustainable and increase recycled content in their panel boards and to do so, they have to use the purest material fractions such as non-processed wood and MDF.

Wood Recyclers’ Association launches MP Engagement Project with first MP visit


The MP for Bassetlaw, Brendan Clarke-Smith, witnessed first-hand the important role that waste wood plays in the circular economy during a visit to R Plevin & Sons’ wood recycling site in Nottinghamshire, Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) says.

The visit came as the WRA officially launched a nationwide MP Engagement Project, intended to improve understanding of wood recycling among policymakers and to build a network of MPs who support the industry.

Mr Clarke-Smith was shown around the 12-acre wood processing site at Elkesley where around 150,000 tonnes of wood – including up to 100,000 tonnes of waste wood – is transformed into value-added products each year.

R Plevin & Sons Managing Director, Jamie Plevin, explained how the company uses higher grade wood to make products such as its Snowflake range of equine and animal bedding, while lower grade material which is not suitable for animal bedding is either recycled for use in panel board manufacture or used to produce fuel for biomass energy generation.

This family-run business is a great example of making the most from our waste.

The Elkesley site has benefited from significant investment since being purchased by Plevin in 2002 and features an outdoor wood recycling yard alongside an indoor animal bedding operation featuring state-of-the-art automated screening and baling technology.

The visit was arranged by the WRA, which has been inviting MPs to visit member sites as part of its MP Engagement Project. The WRA has also written to the Environment Secretary and Business Secretary and other key members of parliament, outlining the important contribution that the waste wood sector makes to UK energy security and carbon reduction targets.

Mr Clarke-Smith said: “I was delighted to visit R Plevin & Sons to learn first-hand about the important role waste wood plays in our circular economy. This family-run business is a great example of making the most from our waste and of how the industry contributes to energy security, net zero and the growth agenda.”

Re-Gen’s response to government’s PRN consultation


Joseph Doherty, Managing Director of Re-Gen Waste, which processes over 200,000 tonnes a year of household recyclables and is a significant PERN Trader, has issued a response to the implications of the Government’s PRN consultation.

Doherty says that Re-Gen Waste believes that the key to the success of EPR and the operation of the revised PRN system will be effective enforcement supported by stronger powers for the regulators to prevent abuse or mismanagement.

He continues that the organisation hopes that the PRN reforms will be developed and implemented through extensive consultation with industry to ensure that the PRN system can still function in the way it was designed and would caution against adding bureaucratic burdens without ensuring that they deliver real tangible benefits without negative unintended consequences.

how will the pricing information help reduce price volatility?

Re-Gen has been involved with the sorting of packaging waste and the issuing of export PERNs for many years and recognises the need for change. However, Re-Gen believes the current system broadly works and that any reforms must be workable and produce tangible benefits. Doherty says that Re-Gen also believes that some of the proposals do not meet these criteria.

The Government supports the introduction of monthly reporting of PRN tonnage, price and revenue data by reprocessors and exporters to improve transparency for producers and compliance schemes and reduce price fluctuations and result in producers paying fairer prices for PRNs/PERNs.

Doherty says that Re-Gen is happy that it doesn’t force monthly trading, calling it a very one-sided proposal and saying it is very hard to see how this will be communicated by the regulators to provide meaningful benefits.

“Will they publish average prices that include forward selling, for instance, and how will the pricing information help reduce price volatility? How will a seller decide on which tonnes to notify?” Doherty asks.

Send this to a friend