WEI Newsletter November 2019

Treated wood – a sustainable solution – executive summary available

A construction material, provided and renewable by Nature, with predictable performance, taking carbon from the atmosphere and locking it away for decades, with low energy demand and a feel good aesthetic, appreciated by almost everyone – that’s treated wood.

Wood preservatives were among the first biocidal products to be subject to regulation and standardisation in respect of these characteristics and consequently are now accepted as both safe and effective.
Treated wood is the material of choice in every situation where its characteristics make it suitable. With such protection, designers have the choice of the foremost renewable and sustainable material.

When structures come to the end of their life, treated wood may be segregated for cascading and recycling uses potentially extending useful life indefinitely. Even when disposal eventually becomes the only option, energy generation by burning returns carbon to the atmosphere where it is turned back into wood by trees using the energy of sunlight. As the amount of CO2 emitted from combustion is no more than the amount previously stored, burning wood is carbon neutral – a truly circular economy.

Treated Wood – A Sustainable Choice uses four examples where the use of treated wood demonstrates its sustainability characteristics – wood for construction, railway sleepers, poles for electricity and telecommunications and landscaping and decking. It also sets out the Circular Economy credentials of treated wood and highlights the importance of best practice and education of designers, specifiers, installers and users and how the treated wood industry leads in developing guidance and programmes to assist these groups in optimising sustainable use of treated wood.

New Book, Wood: Building the Bioeconomy, shows how the EU can reduce emissions while increasing output

CEI-Bois, the European Confederation of the Woodworking Industries, of which WEI is a member, is calling on politicians to put wood at the centre of plans to reduce emissions and achieve zero carbon targets.

In its recently published book, Wood: Building the Bioeconomy, CEI-Bois shows how the EU can reduce emissions by using low carbon, renewable, biological alternatives such as timber over high carbon materials such as concrete, steel and plastic.

The publication goes on to show that this would be good not only for the climate but also for the economy as a whole. Increasing the use of European wood-based products in global construction, textile and plastics markets, could generate as much as 60 billion euros of revenue.

“If we are to restore balance in the atmosphere, we need to reduce emissions in the first place, while also increasing the capacity of the global carbon sink” said Patrizio Antonicoli, Secretary General of CEI-Bois.

“Forests and timber are part of both solutions, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it as wood. Timber harvested from the forests can be turned into high-value products for construction using only a fraction of the energy and carbon that other materials would need.”

“The more Governments across the continent can support and invest in wood, the more valuable this bioeconomy can become, helping to reverse the adverse climate and environmental impacts of human activity and meet our obligations under the Paris agreement.”

Wood, Building the Bioeconomy aims to exhibit the inherent advantages of using wood.

Wood is renewable, sustainable and can be used, re-used and recycled. It is a model product for Europe’s transition towards a Circular Economy intended to boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.

Creosote – Stakeholder consultation

ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency has published its long awaited public consultation for Creosote.

The public consultation gathers relevant information on the availability of substitutes or alternatives to the active substance in question. Information on the availability of possible alternatives is highly important to support the comparative assessment that is required for the authorisation of biocidal products containing the active substance (considered as a candidate for substitution).
The full questionnaire can be found on: https://echa.europa.eu/public-consultation-on-potential-candidates-for-substitution/-/substance-rev/24301/term

Deadline to contribute is 22 December 2019.

As during the 2008 stakeholder consultation WEI will contribute to this consultation and will prepare a draft reply that members can use when responding to the consultation.
WEI will prepare a draft reply by 5 December.

Please contact the WEI Secretariat if you wish to be involved in preparing the reply or if you wish to receive a draft reply that can be used as your own input to the consultation.

IED – BREF Discussions

The European IPPC Bureau (EIPPCB) produced a final draft BREF for wood preservation with chemicals (part of the Surface Treatment Using Organic Solvents including Preservation of Wood and Wood Products with Chemicals (STS-WPC) BREF).

The final draft was discussed at a meeting of the IED Article 13 Forum on 14 October. As expected, very few changes to the final draft text were approved, none of which affect key aspects of the BREF.

The final version of the draft Commission Implementing Decision on Best Available Techniques (BAT) conclusions will now be submitted to the opinion (i.e. vote) of the IED Article 75 Committee (vote foreseen to take place in 1st quarter of 2020).

In the case of a positive opinion, it will be followed by the Commission’s adoption and the publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, expected 2nd quarter of 2020.

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