Homeowners can safely dispose of wood debris from yard waste such as trees and shrubs by bundling them neatly together for curbside collection, while professional wood processors or recyclers can collect wood debris from construction and demolition projects for safe recycling or disposal. Wood waste represents the bulk of waste from construction and demolition activities, and recycling keeps it out of costly landfills.
Recycling facilities transform clean, untreated wood into new wood products, landscape mulch, certified playground surfaces, organic compost or biofuel to produce electricity. Untreated wood is also used as feedstock for engineered woods, soil conditioners, animal bedding and sewage sludge bulking medium. Wood that has been chemically treated such as fence posts, sill plates, landscape timber, decking and pilings require different handling procedures and many end up in composite-lined solid waste landfills.
Reusing wood waste from structural architectural elements such as banisters, casings and moldings in new construction provides the best option for managing wood waste. However, recycled wood needs recertification. The next best option for wood waste would be as feedstock for re-engineered woods where the old wood is treated with glues, resins and other chemicals to make particle boards, plywood or laminated woods.
Wood waste from residential and commercial wood frame construction sites provides the best quality wood waste, while wood from demolition offers the poorest possibility of recycling because it is often mixed with other types of debris that are difficult to separate.