The leaders’ summit at COP26 delivered pledges promising to end deforestation and cut methane emissions by 30% of 2020 levels by 2030. We welcome both commitments; we are in the business of saving wood so it will come as no surprise that the forestry pledge is close to our hearts, but did you know how important our work is in fighting methane emissions?
When Richard Mehmed set up the country’s first wood recycling project in 1998, almost all waste timber was being sent to landfill. There it would decay and give off methane, a gas that has now been found to be responsible for a significant proportion of the 1C of warming the world has already experienced.
Methane has received less focus than CO2 in the fight against global warming as it stays in the atmosphere for a shorter time. The potential benefits of limiting emissions are huge – scientists believe it could help the world avoid 0.3C of warming by 2040.
The growth of wood recycling by chipping over the last 20 years has meant that far less wood is ending up in landfill than was the case in 1998. However, the Wood Recyclers Association estimates that at least 600,000 tonnes of UK waste wood is unprocessed and is at risk of being landfilled annually. We are proud to have been in the vanguard of keeping wood out of landfill and of course we guarantee that none of the timber we collect will ever end up in the ground.
This month we’d like to give you an insight into how we turn the timber we collect from you into beautiful handcrafted products.
Each piece of wood that comes back to our yard is sorted to ensure it is reused in the best possible way. We sell longer lengths to the community via our reclaimed timber store, but it’s the shorter bits that allow us to carry out the amazing transformations that we’re so passionate about.
Christmas Stars – just add lights! Just one of the products on display in the shop…
Our range covers everything from bird boxes to desks for home working, and includes bespoke sheds and a wide range of furniture for your home and garden.
The wood magic happens in our workshop and you can see all our products on display in the shop at our site in Litchurch Lane, Derby.
Right now we’re having a re-vamp of the shop layout so why not drop in and tell us what you think, have a look around and do a bit of shopping. We’re open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00am – 3:30pm and Saturday 9:00am – 12:30pm
You’ll see that our methods have several advantages over the conventional approach to wood recycling. Key to our approach is reuse – reclaiming wood and using it locally, without the need to transport or recycle it any more than necessary.
We use efficient transport
Our lightweight collection vehicles consume 75% less fuel than skip lorries per tonne of wood collected. We also minimise travel distance by hand-loading to maximum capacity whenever possible, reducing the number of collection trips required.
We say no to landfill
When wood rots it creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas, with each tonne of wood in landfill creating the equivalent of 800kg of CO2 in methane emissions. You might have seen that this issue was recently addressed with a new international agreement on methane emissions at COP26. We divert wood away from general waste streams, and we don’t send any of what we collect to landfill.
We focus on Reuse
Recycling is better than landfill, but chipping wood limits its use to heavy industry like biomass and chipboard manufacture. By sorting the wood, we salvage everything that can be reused in its natural state, putting it straight back into the resource loop without the need to recycle it.
Our workshops and our customers find ingenious ways to turn waste wood of all kinds into quality furniture and products. This means that we are upcycling reclaimed timber into more complex and valuable items.
We help the fight against illegal logging
Around a million cubic metres of illegal wood enters the UK each year, with consumers often in the dark about where their wood is really from. Reusing the wood that’s already here helps reduce the need to import it from sources contributing to deforestation, a major driver of climate change.
Managing Director of East Midlands Wood Recycling, Kevin Ellis, reflects on the positives through uncertain times
When I founded a new community wood recycling project in Derby in 2012, I was passionate about ensuring that waste wood in our area was saved from the skip, and helping disadvantaged people back into work. Since then, our project has helped local businesses to make their activities more environmentally friendly, and created community benefit from our partnerships.
The last eighteen months have brought challenges that none of us could have foreseen, but I have been heartened by the support we’ve had from customers old and new. More and more companies are interested in our work to build a circular economy and fight waste. The number of collections we’ve been doing for clients in our home town of Derby and beyond into Nottingham, Ilkeston and Mansfield has increased, and we are now buying an extra truck to meet demand.
I’d like to thank everyone who shares our belief in community reuse as a more sustainable solution to dealing with waste timber. The timber we have collected has become an affordable resource for local people, and has featured in lots of lockdown DIY projects.
Looking forward, we will continue to offer a cost-effective alternative to skips to all our clients, focus on re-use of timber and help local people back into work. We are grateful to all our partners who make this possible.
With British Olympic and Paralympic success fresh in our minds we’d like to share one of the more unusual projects worked on by our sister enterprise, Touch Wood EMERGE in Manchester. They were commissioned to rescue the track from the National Cycling Centre where so many of our champions train, as part of a recent refurbishment project.
If you’ve ever watched cycling you will have seen how high speed falls cause damage to the Siberian Spruce, which often has to be patched up before competition can continue. This means that the whole track needs to be replaced about every 20 years. Naturally as soon as their local wood recyclers heard about this, they wanted to ensure that the timber could be reused.
The team at Touch Wood didn’t just save the track, they were able to make a range of products for cycling fans. This included two very special customers, golden couple Laura and Jason Kenny. Here’s a throwback photo to when the Olympic champions visited the project to collect the table they commissioned. We’d like to join in congratulating them on their Tokyo 2020 success.
Velodrome wood has found new uses in cafes, businesses and homes across the North West and beyond. Some of the track is still available now, so if you’d like your own bit of history contact EMERGE Touchwood wood recycling project
Handloading our trucks means we can reduce void space by up to 40%
For businesses producing waste wood, a skip is not the only option, or the cheapest…
1. You can dump the skip – and save money!
If your business has waste wood on site, chances are you use a wood skip. Our collection service uses 3.5 tonne caged trucks, and can work out as a cheaper alternative.
We handload our trucks and really the pack the wood in, reducing void space by between 20% – 40% – and because we charge by the cubic yard this can lead to significant savings.
2. You’ll get an efficient, professional service
We’ve got years of experience. All our staff have comprehensive training and have the correct PPE. We’re fully insured and licensed waste carriers and supply waste transfer notes for every collection. Booking a collection is simple and straightforward and most collections are booked and completed within 48 hours.
3. You’ll help the environment
Our collection service is environmentally the best option out there for waste wood removal and an ideal way for you to meet your own environmental goals.
By choosing us, you’re diverting material from the waste stream because your wood is graded for re-use. We save perfectly good quality wood from going to landfill or automatically being ‘downcycled’ into woodchip. Instead, we do our utmost to re-use as much as possible for re-sale for DIY, to make wooden products or to be sold on as firewood. Even our transport is also environmentally better – our vehicles are smaller and less polluting than big skip lorries.
4. You’re creating jobs and training opportunities for local disadvantaged people
Choosing our collection service means that you’re supporting a social enterprise committed to changing lives. We help people who are marginalised and excluded from employment to gain confidence and move into employment. Our wood recycling project allows them to move from simple tasks which don’t need any previous experience, like unloading the van, to making things in our workshop or serving customers.
Celebrate Christmas with some seasonal decorations from East Midlands Wood Recycling, we have several products to help get you in the holiday mood! Browse online or come down and see what else we have to offer. If you have a wood-burning stove, don’t forget that we also have plenty of firewood to keep you warm through the winter!
East Midlands Wood Recycling has been announced the winner of the ‘Business in the Community’ category of the 2015 Derbyshire East Midlands Chamber of Commerce Awards, at a ceremony which took place at the Roundhouse last night.
The awards recognise businesses across the East Midlands which have pioneered new concepts and innovation, excelled in commercial enterprise through exports and increased business, or distinguished themselves with their attitude to workforce development.