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Quality assessment of recycled wood with and without non-wooden materials from selected recycling companies in Europe

: Lesar, B.; Humar, M.; Hora, G.


Waste management 79 (2018), S.362-373
ISSN: 0956-053X
ISSN: 1879-2456
Fraunhofer WKI ()
fraction analysis; inorganic contaminant; klasson lignin; sorting system; waste wood

Recycled wood is becoming an important material source for production of new materials and chemicals. Predominantly clean recycled wood should be used for the products with high added value. However, contamination of the recycled wood defines the potential end uses. Thus, it is of the huge commercial and environmental importance to monitor the contamination of the respective material. In the present research, we focused on concentrations of non-wooden materials in recycled wood and the presence of indicative inorganic pollutants, namely: chlorine (Cl), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), iron (Fe) and bromine (Br). Sampling of various qualities of commercially available recycled wood was performed for one year in recycling companies from Germany, Slovenia, Finland and UK. In addition to the above-mentioned long term monitoring, fraction analysis was also performed on selected batches. For nine different fractions, the water soluble part and lignin content were additionally determined. The results showed that high quality recycled wood had low shares of non-wooden materials and only a few samples exceeded the limit values for inorganic pollutants prescribed by German ordinance Altholzverordnung or EPF standard. On the other hand, mixed recycled wood, of lower quality contained a significantly higher portion of non-wooden material (up to 3%). These mixtures also had higher concentrations of inorganic pollutants. More than 85% of samples exceeded the limit concentration prescribed by the German ordinance Altholzverordnung for recovered wood for at least one of the analysed chemicals. The concentration of chemical elements in samples from nine different size fractions negatively correlated with the particle size in the fractions. The same trend was also observed for the soluble part and the lignin content. In general, it can be concluded that recycled wood deriving from larger annual process capacity volumes with sophisticated sorting systems, contains less non-wooden material and can provide clean wood. On the other hand, the mixed recycled wood contained high concentrations of inorganic elements, regardless of the origin or sorting system.