“With this reference practice, companies in the sector make public and verifiable the good practices in place in the sector, which include controls on suppliers, at the time of receipt of the material, controls along the process and obviously final controls on the product, which must be safe for consumers and safe for the environment“: with these words Paolo Fantoni, President of Assopannelli, commented on the publication on 30 July of the reference practice UNI/PdR 115 “Management of recovered wood for the production of wood-based panels“.
Wood-based panels for the circular economy
This important document describes good practices for the management of wood waste used in the production process of chipboard and fibreboard to ensure that wood-based panels promote the circular economy desired by the European Union, allowing the recovery of materials instead of landfill or energy recovery, comply with the technical regulations of the sector and are in accordance with the CAM (Minimum Environmental Criteria for Public Administration Purchases) with regard to the quality of recycled material.
“This document is one of a series of initiatives in which standardisation is at the forefront of social, economic and environmental sustainability,“ said Ruggero Lensi, director general of UNI. “This is why we very much welcomed Federlegno Arredo's invitation to develop a reference practice that could help operators in the wood sector by providing them with useful indications for the recovery and recycling of a material that is so important for our economy“.
A world record in wood recycling
For decades Italy has held a world record in wood recycling, driven by the production of chipboard panels. Unlike other countries that mainly burn post-consumer wood to produce energy, in Italy, thanks to a supply chain that involves citizens, municipalities, small and large companies, 95% of wood is recycled to produce furniture panels, without the need to consume virgin wood.
“The wood-based panel production sector,“ explained Paolo Fantoni, “has been committed since the mid-1990s to recovering recycled wood to replace forest resources, embracing the spirit of the circular economy well in advance. The continuous improvements in the waste wood treatment technique developed in this way still put us in the vanguard compared to our European competitors“. In environmental terms, these good practices carried out by the sector allow a saving in CO₂ consumption of almost two million tonnes/year.
The role of the Rilegno consortium
The role of the national consortium Rilegno, which collects, recovers and recycles wood packaging, makes a major contribution to this development. The importance of recycling is also fundamental in this phase characterised by the increase in the cost of wood for the supply of raw materials.
In the photo: recovered raw material for the production of chipboard (Fantoni)