Using recycled wood extends the life of the wood so there is no need to use newly sourced wood. After decades or even centuries of use, wood buildings can be easily adapted or deconstructed and reused, which means they can continue to store carbon indefinitely.
Wood can be recycled if it is not contaminated. It should be kept separate from painted, coated and preservative treated wood. Industrial wood comprises of wood waste from the commercial and industrial sectors including the transport sector, building trade suppliers, ship building, cabinet making, and construction and demolition companies. Wood with the following contaminants cannot be recycled:
nails, metal connectors, plastic wrapping, dirt and sand
paint, oil and other coatings, laminates, edge bandings, glues and resins
plywood, medium density fibreboard (MDF)
wood treated with Copper Chrome Arsenate (CCA) preservative (this is the most
commonly used preservative, however other types may be acceptable)
other wastes (e.g. garbage, building rubble) within the same load
There are a variety of preservatives used in Australia for treating wood, which are impregnated into the wood. Humans and the environment can be put at risk if exposed to these chemicals at high enough levels and environmental problems can occur if treated wood is burned without appropriate emission control equipment.
Although treatment increases its durability, the options for recycling treated wood are limited. It is therefore expected that the quantity of treated timber going to landfill will grow steadily.