Keywords: preservatives, sawn timber, wood waste, waste management, hazardous substances, environmental pollution, material flow analysis, substance flow analysis, environmental policy, regulations, industrial ecology, strategic sustainable development, Sweden
Preservative-treated sawn timber in Sweden: waste beyond control
Wood preservatives contain hazardous substances that cause environmental implications during waste management. The objective of this study was to analyse the waste management of preservative-treated sawn timber in Sweden from a pollution perspective and in regard to the present waste policy. Firstly, the generation of waste was modelled and then the methods of disposal were analysed from direct inquiries to waste facilities and from mass balance considerations. The results show that the discarded amount of preservative-treated sawn timber has increased and today exceeds 150 000 tonnes per year. This waste generation will continue for many years and will contain several thousand tonnes of arsenic and chromium. According to the Swedish Waste Decree, preservative-treated sawn timber is to be separately handled as hazardous waste. At present, however, most of the waste unintentionally becomes dispersed in non-hazardous waste, making it difficult to control the outflows of hazardous substances from preservative-treated sawn timber.