An Assesment of Management Practices of Wood

Publish Date: 1995

With the strong support of most of the public, there is no doubt that efforts to separate and recycle municipal wastes are on the upswing. However, until recently, most of the focus has been on residential recyclables such as cans, bottles and newspapers. Some of that attention is shifting to another significant source of solid wastes. This source can be described in a variety of ways: wood waste, green waste, organic waste, or yard waste. No matter what it's called, there is an enormous amount yet unquantified in municipal solid waste. The recent surge in attention addressed to this solid waste stream is driven by a number of political and environmental pressures. These pressures are gradually, but steadily, bringing an end to the traditional methods of managing wood and wood-related waste (urban wood waste), such as landfilling. State regulations are banning the landfilling of these wastes to preserve precious landfill capacity, and to divert the wastes for recycling to achieve either mandated or voluntary diversion rates and recycling goals. Under the auspices of the Clean Air Act state regulations are also regulating the burning of wood wastes. These forces have put pressure on public and private sector organizations to find alternative management methods for urban wood waste.

To better understand this municipal solid waste management challenge, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SW ANA) has collaborated with the International Society of Arboriculture Research Trust (ISA Research Trust) and the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (DOEINREL) in a three-phase project. The first phase, which was undertaken and funded by the ISA Research Trust, was to assess the amount of urban wood waste generated nationally. This project was recently completed (Final Report, Urban Tree Residues: Results of the First National Inventory). The second phase, which is the subject of this report was funded by DOEINREL, is an assessment of current urban wood waste management practices. The third phase, which will be primarily an effort of ISA Research Trust, with support from SW ANA, will be directed at assessing the needs of the generators and management systems both in the short and long term.

This report presents the findings of a survey of current state regulations regarding wood wastes. The survey results are summarized in a table as well as state-by-state summaries. In addition, the report includes a number of case studies on specific approaches to managing wood waste in an urban setting.

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