German waste wood volume

Material recycling gains weight – energetic recycling still the mainstay of waste wood recycling

“The market for waste wood continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace than we had expected”. These are the words Dieter Uffmann, Chairman of the BAV – Bundesverband der Altholzaufbereiter und -verwerters e.V. (Federal Association of Waste Wood Processors and Recyclers), uses to comment on the figures of the study currently presented by the University of Hamburg and the INFRO – Information System for Raw Materials on “Waste wood in the Waste Wood Market – Volume and Recycling 2016”.

Waste wood volume:

According to the results of the study, the trading volume, the internal use and further sale of waste wood fell slightly in 2016 by 7.7 million tonnes (2010: 8.1 million tonnes). The market volume, the sum of internal use and distribution to end-users, increased from 6.3 to 6.6 million tonnes in the same period. Intra-trading, the difference between the trading volume and the market volume, is the sale of waste wood from the disposal companies to each other. At around 1.105 million tonnes p.a., this is declining.


In 2010, more than 5.0 million tonnes of these 6.3 million tonnes, or a good 80 percent, were recycled for energy purposes. In 2016, of the 6.6 million metric tons, only 4.5 million metric tons were recovered, or a good two thirds. In the same period, recycling in the panelboard industry increased significantly, from just over 1.1 million tonnes to almost 1.5 million tonnes. After every fifth tonne, more than every fourth tonne of waste wood is now recycled.

Nevertheless, the BAV chairman emphasises that the focus remains on the energetic use of waste wood and thus the sustainable contribution of the waste wood industry to the energy turnaround. From the BAV’s point of view, this is also linked to a viable solution for biomass (heating) power plants after the end of EEG support. According to Uffmann, the higher volume also underlines the urgency of the amendment to the Waste Wood Ordinance.

According to the survey, the export of waste wood for the wood-based panel industry has risen sharply. Whereas only 54,000 tonnes of waste wood were exported for this purpose in 2010, exports for this recycling route climbed to almost a quarter of a million tonnes in 2016. And this volume is likely to have risen further recently, according to Uffmann, referring to industry figures. In this connection, the BAV continues to urge consistent enforcement of the applicable law. “We formulated this demand in autumn last year in a joint paper with the Fachverband Holzenergie (FVH) and the Verband der Deutschen Holzwerkstoffindustrie (VHI) (Association of the German Wood-Based Panel Industry).

The BAV – Bundesverband der Altholzaufbereiter und -verwerter e.V. (Federal Association of Waste Wood Processors and Recyclers) – is an organisation of all interest groups in the waste wood industry. The association currently represents 87 companies from the fields of processing, material and energy recovery, mainly from Germany, but also from Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Sweden.

The report “Waste wood in the waste disposal market – volume and recycling 2016”, prepared by the University of Hamburg and INFRO – Information Systems for Raw Materials, can be downloaded here.

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