A Guide to Timber End of Life Reuse, Recycling and Disposal

At EcoChoice, we believe that construction can be sustainable – actually, we know it can be. Our timber is renewable, biodegradable and sourced from responsibly managed, independently certified forests. Choosing to use sustainable timber in your building projects is a great choice, but it’s just the start. In fact, what you do with old timber at the end of its life could be just as important for the planet! That’s why we have put together these top tips to help you reuse, recycle and dispose of your timber without hurting the planet. 

What’s the Issue Here?

Over 80% of UK construction timber is either recycled or reused, which is brilliant. But what happens to the remaining 20%? Unfortunately, this ends up in the landfill where it starts to cause real environmental problems.

Firstly, it adds to our massive amount of waste on the planet. Luckily it is a biodegradable material, but the landfill is not the best environment to promote breakdown, so it will sit there for some time (a regular wooden chair takes 13 years to decompose!). If the wood is treated and painted, you can add a fair few years onto the time that will take. 

Secondly, as the wood rots, it releases the CO2 stored within it. When the tree which created the timber was growing, it absorbed and stored a lot of carbon dioxide, which is a big bonus for our planet! But if it is left to break down, all that was stored will be let out again into our atmosphere, which is not so great. 

How to Dispose of Timber Sustainably

Rather than letting your old timber rot away, there are plenty of eco-friendly ways to dispose of it. The first is by reusing it for another project. Perhaps you are removing old decking, in which case you could use the boards to create a dining room table or a retaining wall or turn them into a pathway in your garden. Get creative and don’t let your wood go to waste. 

If you (or anyone you know – ask around!) don’t have a need for the timber, recycle it. You won’t be able to do this in your household recycling bin, but you can take it to a recycling centre that will deal with it for you. Do a quick check in your local area to see where to drop off yours.

If you can’t reuse or recycle your timber, it is still not time for the landfill! Instead see if there’s a composting facility near you that would be happy to take the wood. It will rot, but at least it will create a by-product that can be used, helping other plants to grow and remove more carbon from the atmosphere. 

Opt For Sustainable Timber to Start Right

We have been talking a lot about the end of life for timber, but what about the start? If you are concerned about the planet, it’s best to choose wood that has been sourced from a responsibly managed forest, where timber needs are balanced with conservation. At EcoChoice, all our wood is independently certified, ensuring that the forest it comes from will be here to help the planet for many years to come. Browse our range of sustainable timber to find the perfect eco-friendly products for your needs.

Image: larisa Stefanjuk / Shutterstock.com



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