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These materials can be composted to produce a usable product, rather than landfilled
or incinerated. Today, 26 states have laws or regulations that prohibit yard materials from
being landfilled.
5. Wood
EPA estimates that approximately 13.7 million tons of wood were generated as
municipal solid waste in 1993. Approximately 10 percent (1.32 million tons) was recovered
The sources of wood include furniture, miscellaneous durables, wood packaging (including
pallets), and other miscellaneous products.
Wood also is present in construction and demolition (C&D) debris -- materials
generated as a result of construction, renovation, or demolition of structures. C&D debris is
disposed in both municipal and C&D landfills. Generation of C&D debris fluctuates with
seasons, climate, weather, and the local and national economy. As a result, there are no
generally accepted estimates of C&D debris generation. According to one report, various
studies estimated generation rates ranging from 0.12 to 3.52 pounds/person/day.
"Construction Waste & Demolition Debris Recycling. . .A Primer," prepared for
SWANA/EPA/MITE by Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc.]
Wood can account for as much as 30 percent of C&D debris, particularly if land has
been cleared for construction. According to one article, Maine and Oregon reported that
more than 97 percent of their wood waste, was landfilled as recently as 1988. (Gitlin, Lisa,
"Integrating Wood into the Recycling Loop," Recycling Today, June 1991) However, as
landfill tipping fees increase and landfill space becomes limited in some states, wood
chipping and reclamation of wood from C&D is increasing. Communities with public or
private wood reclamation programs include Baltimore (the Loading Dock), the Bronx (Urban
Solutions), Berkeley (Urban Ore), San Jose, Chicago, Milwaukee, Portland, Cleveland, and
San Diego. Some of these programs reclaim parts for reuse, while others chip wood for new
applications, or both. Much of the wood is turned into fuel, compost, or mulch, including
hydraulic mulch.
Recovery of wood is increasing, however. In particular, in the West, there is
growing demand for secondary sources of wood fiber due to restrictions on timber
harvesting. In 1993, the Metro Portland Solid Waste Department (METRO) reported that
more than 216,000 tons of wood were generated in 1992, including wooden shipping
containers and pallets, untreated dimensional lumber and finishing pieces from C&D
activities, and large stumps from landclearing. METRO estimated `that 46 percent of these
materials were recovered, excluding wood that was salvaged for reuse.
Although a comprehensive `list of C&D debris recovery programs is not available,
published reports indicate that programs exist in all parts of the U.S. and that it i.s
technologically and economically feasible to recover wood wastes for use in such items as
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