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Turn wood residues into a valuable raw material through industrial symbiosis

Timber and woodworking
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Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Intermediate, Advanced
What is in it for you:
Maximise the value created from raw materials, save in waste disposal costs, reduce waste and carbon emissions, and create new lines of business through collaboration with other companies.
Descriptive information:

Industrial symbiosis is an industrial ecosystem where the unused or residual resources of one company are used by another. This results in mutual economic, social and environmental benefits. It is a process involving several companies – firms that complement one another provide mutual added value through efficient use of raw materials, technology, services, energy, and know-how.

One company's waste is another's potential raw materials or energy source; the key is to find them. Companies can also look into ways to convert their waste material into a useful product with little or no cost attached.

Industrial symbiosis promotes cross-sectoral collaboration and supports local and regional growth, creates jobs, and fosters industrial clusters that share a mutual interest in resource efficiency. In the forest-based and wood sector, for instance, there is a lot of potential for creating industrial symbioses. Wood as a material has high value and there are several utilisation options for side streams created by for example sawing and trimming.

Examples include:

Wood off-cuts: Look for companies that produce smaller components. Leftover pieces can be a raw material for them; even the smallest off-cuts can be used for particleboard or pellets.

Sawdust and shavings: Utilisation possibilities can be found as filling material in packaging, in animal bedding, composting, or energy production, to name a few.

Filling materials, upholstery foam or battings: Cut-offs can be suitable for filling mattresses, cushions or other stuffing.


Motiva, Finnish Industrial Symbiosis System, http://www.industrialsymbiosis.fi/

Envirowise (2001), Savings from waste minimization in furniture manufacturing, Good Practice Guide GG 290, Harwell International Business Centre, UK.  http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/GG290.pdf



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