More timber pallets and packaging than ever are being reused, repaired or recycled, according to a comprehensive new study of the timber packaging industry.
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Nick Moore of Timbertrends told members of the Timber Packaging & Pallets Confederation (TIMCON) that the quantity of recycled or reused pallets as a proportion of the total rose from 55 per cent to 62.2 per cent between 2009 and 2010; and the amount of reused/recycled timber used in manufacture increased from 9 per cent to 12.7 per cent of the total. The market for new pallets as a proportion, meanwhile, has decreased in favour of pooling and recovery activity.
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The Quantification of the Manufacture, Recycling and Re-use of Wood Packaging in the UK, 2010, study, was commissioned jointly by TIMCON and the Forestry Commission to quantify the manufacturing, recycling and reuse of timber packaging in the UK. It is the second time the industry has carried out such a wide-ranging audit of its activities, following the initial report on 2008/2009, which was published last year.
Presenting his findings to TIMCON’s general meeting in Leicester at the beginning of December, Mr Moore said that the packaging and pallets sector is also using proportionally more British timber.
President of TIMCON John Dye said: “The new Timbertrends report gives us a valuable insight into the developments in our industry. It gives us, and forest-based businesses a sound information base with which to lobby Government on critical issues such as biomass subsidies, which currently make it more attractive to burn wood – and release the carbon it has absorbed - than use it in manufactured products first.
“The increase in recycling and recovery is positive, demonstrating again the important place timber has in a sustainable future; compare this with plastic, which is difficult to repair and originates from a finite, fossil fuel resource.
“We are also very pleased to note the growth in use of home-grown wood in the manufacture of pallets and packaging, a fact which underlines the increasing importance of our sector to the forestry and sawmilling industries – particularly in the context of the decrease in construction. The packaging and pallets industry now consumers more than 1.5 million cubic metres of timber every year – and, by utilising falling boards and smaller logs, forms part of the highly efficient cascade system where every part of a harvested tree is used.
“This also highlights the timeliness of FEFPEB’s new Packaging from Nature campaign to promote the use of wooden packaging and pallets, which is actively supported and partially funded by TIMCON; and TIMCON’s own efforts focused on the UK. Plastic and corrugated materials are fighting for a share of this market and these campaigns will help us defend our position by conveying the overwhelming advantages of timber in the press, to politicians and in the media.
“TIMCON is supporting a number of further forest-based industry initiatives, including Wood for Good, the Wooden Panel Industries Federation(WPIF)’s Stop Burning Our Trees campaign, and the work of the Forestry Panel. We are calling on all these sectors to continue to work closely with us to convey our shared messages.
Mr Dye added that TIMCON is planning to continue its investment in this report on an ongoing basis. “The Timbertrends report is the most complete study ever carried out for our industry. It is fast becoming a cornerstone in our efforts to communicate the scale and importance of this industry to the UK: for its environment, employment and for business.”