Presenter:  Fraser Scott, True North Consulting & Chris Keeling, Environment Canterbury

Presentation title:  Delving into the toohard basket: Finding productive outlets for waste treated timber

In 2012, a project team comprising Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, BRANZ and Scion formed to consider one of the most challenging and sizable waste streams in New Zealand: treated timber waste. Following the Canterbury earthquakes, a waste pile consisting of several hundred thousands of tonnes of wood has been amassed, with no reliable data as to what proportion of it is treated. The rebuild will contribute thousands of tonnes of additional treated timber waste, in addition to the large volumes ordinarily sent to landfills on a day-to-day basis. Because of the treatment chemicals in the timber, including arsenic and chromium, turning this waste into a resource has the potential to cause harm through contaminating land and water, and generating hazardous air emissions. This has created a situation where this waste stream has been seen by many as simply too hard to deal with. The project, championed by Environment Canterbury, has taken a fresh approach by identifying and evaluating all the possibilities for appropriately and productively diverting waste treated timber from landfills. Opportunities and technologies from around New Zealand and the world have been considered and assessed. The emphasis in evaluation has been on ensuring that whatever processes are recommended as most appropriate are both environmentally sound as well as commercially sustainable. Every part of the model used to progress this project has been grounded in commercial reality. This paper presents the findings from the project to date and the process undertaken to reach preliminary conclusions. It focuses on the key issues that have hindered development in dealing with treated timber waste and the breakthroughs that show most promise for deployment.

Event: WasteMINZ Conference 2013

Date: Tuesday 22 October 2013