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How is Wood/Timber Recycled?

how is timber recycled

A commonly asked question: is wood recyclable? The answer is yes, wood is recyclable. Although wood is not accepted in your typical household recycling bin, wood is accepted at your local household waste recycling centres and wood recycling establishments. If you have excess wood waste, you can always call SCS Waste to organise a speedy collection of any re-usable wood.

SCS Waste recycle 10,000 tonnes of wood a year, so for us, the recycling process is second nature but for those who want to know about the different types of wood that can be recycled and the process it undergoes, read on!

What’s the wood/timber recycling process?

waste wood

For those of you thinking, how is timber recycled? – let’s look at the process below. When scrap wood and timber is collected, it is brought to recycling plants where the wood waste is sorted, separated and prepared for the processing sequence. From here, the waste wood is placed into a wood shredder where it is broken down into varying sizes, which all depends on their future uses.

The produce from the wooden shredder is then screened and divided. Large pieces of recycled wood are put back into circulation to make furnishings whereas small wood fibres are used to make products such as animal bedding. 

Things made from recycled wood

The wood recycling process helps to save trees and reduce the environmental impact of cutting down more trees which in turn, reduces air and water pollution too. Wood recycling plants redirect wood waste away from landfill so that this natural material can be repurposed into a long list of things, including: 

  • Domestic furnishings – used to create ornaments, tables, chairs, TV stands, etc.
  • Panel boards – used for decking, lofts and art canvases. 
  • Biomass – excess wood used for energy production. 
  • Mulches, composts and coverings – using low-quality wood and giving back to nature.
  • Landscape surfaces – used for gardens, agricultural grounds, pathways and children’s playgrounds. 

Contributors to waste wood

types of waste timber to recycle

  • Construction sites 
  • Demolition sites 
  • Packaging companies 
  • Wood processing factories 
  • Manufacturing sites
  • Households

The majority of wood disposal comes from construction and demolition sites, but this is a particularly challenging sector because the scrap wood is often mixed in with laminates, treated timber, MDF and plywood. Not only does it make it difficult to salvage wood that could be reused but this makes the wood recycling process even more labour-intensive. That said, any clean or untreated wood will be removed and recycled but low-quality, treated or contaminated wood does not make for a good recycling candidate.

Why buy recycled timber?

Recycled timber is better for the environment, which means the more people who purchase repurposed wood, the less need there is to cut down fresh forests for their raw materials. There’s no doubt that recycled timber will be less costly for you too which means it’s a win-win. 

Recycling Wood FAQs

wood recycling

How to dispose of wood

There are five things you can do to get rid of old wood. 

  • Take to the wood processing facility
  • Reuse and repurpose – DIY 
  • Recycle
  • Bio-mass (used as fuel)
  • Landfill

What are the types of wood waste?

Wood waste, used wood, natural wood waste and scrap wood are the four types of waste wood.

Types of wood for recycling

There are many types of wood which can be used for recycling, and these include, softwood, hardwood, blockboard, plywood, orientated strand board (OBS), chipboard, medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and hardboard.

Can plywood be recycled?

Even though plywood is a Class B wood that has been treated, it can still be recycled as long as it is separated from other types of wood.

Is there such a thing as wood pallet recycling?

Yes, wooden pallets can be reused, reprocessed into new pallets or broken down into wood clippings.

Is MDF recyclable?

MDF wood is not recyclable, the only way to dispose of MDF is through landfill or incineration.

Can you put wood in the bin?

You should not place wood in your normal household bin or recycling bin. To get rid of wood you can either call a local wood recycling company to collect it, hire a skip or take it to your local wood recycling centre.


If you’re looking for responsible wood disposal, get in touch with SCS Waste. We have invested millions of pounds into our excellent treatment facilities and have the licence to process 150,000 tonnes of recycling, including wood. With over 20 years in the industry, you can be sure that we’ll do our very best to ensure eco-friendly processes and high customer satisfaction. For more information or to organise a skip or a collection, get in touch with SCS Waste today – we operate throughout Arundel, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and the surrounding areas. 


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