Growing amounts of wood waste
buildings going up and old buildings coming down at a
record pace across the country – generating tons
of construction-and-demolition debris – it is easy
to make the assumption that wood waste is a growing segment
within the waste industry.
hit a record of $1.185 trillion in February, according
to the United States Commerce Department. Construction
spending grew 0.8 percent over January and by 7.4 percent
over February last year. Non-residential construction
increased 9.6 percent. Residential construction jumped
7.1 percent. Public construction gained 6 percent.
all the wood waste from these construction projects going?
Finding numbers to back up the assumption that wood waste
is growing is not easy. No government agency or trade
group regularly tracks wood waste. Those that do track
C&D debris, consisting of steel to concrete debris,
do not break out wood waste separately.
LETCO Group L.P., which operates facilities throughout
Texas, processes a small amount of wood waste from construction.
Mark Rose, area president, said wood waste is processed
into fuel and is usually burned by paper mills.
cannot say that volume is up,” Rose said. Construction
in the Dallas and Houston markets has been strong for
a long time, he said. “Wood waste is very regional
due to a very low sales price and high transportation
costs,” Rose said.
recycles mostly tree trimmings, grass clippings and leaves,
is a subsidiary of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Republic
Services Inc. The solid-waste company, which serves markets
in 21 states, does not break out the results for its subsidiaries
like LETCO. Republic Services also does not reveal C&D
It is a
similar story at Houston-based Waste Management Services
(WM), the country’s largest solid-waste company.
“We have C&D landfills all across the country
and have waste-to-energy plants that sometimes turn wood
waste into energy by burning – but that’s
all in the normal course of business,” said Lynn
Brown, vice president of corporate communications. She
said WM does not track wood waste. “We would have
to call each of our more than 300 landfills individually.
That’s simply impractical,” Brown said.