Illawarra Shoalhaven

Wood Waste Circular Ecosystem

Circular Ecosystem for Wood Waste in NSW

According to the National Waste Report 2022, currently 59% of wood waste is sent to landfill.

But according to the NSW EPA Recyculator tool, recycling 1,000 tonnes of timber pallets can achieve CO2 emission reductions equivalent to removing 324 cars permanently from roads.

Project scope

Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation is looking to create a circular ecosystem for wood waste. This is consistent with the principals of the circular economy, to:

  • Eliminate waste
  • Circulate products
  • Regenerate nature

The circular economy will provide economic, social and environmental benefits to NSW (Circular NSW, 2020), including:

  • Estimated economic benefit of $69 billion to Gross Domestic Product by 2048
  • Job creation of up to 50,000 jobs by 2025
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions (based on research by Green Industries SA)

ISJO is seeking to develop tangible and practical outcomes to avoid wood and wood-based products going to landfill and to develop a scalable and replicable framework that can be applied to other material types.

ISJO is working with consultant GHD to develop a material flow analysis for NSW which will assist in mapping supply chains of wood waste. Hot spots will then be identified as the promising locations to evaluate and trial a circular lab based on the matchmaking marketplace concepts of bringing together supply and demand stakeholders. The experience and industry knowledge of key stakeholders will support in framing both barriers and opportunities to achieving a circular ecosystem. From this we will deliver a 1-day minimum viable product (MVP) to identify up to three projects for prioritisation as potential pilots.

Project goals
ISJO’s ultimate goal is to create zero wood waste to landfill. Through this project, ISJO will address four key targets, as per the Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041:

  1. 80% average recovery rate for all streams
  2. 50% reduction of organic waste sent to landfill
  3. Net zero emissions from organic waste
  4. Reduce illegal dumping and create an ecosystem to keep timber in the productive economy in NSW, captured for use as fuel in Australia

This project will be of interest to you if:

  • You have wood waste that you are currently sending to landfill
  • You recover wood waste
  • You are a technology provider to suppliers and/or users of wood waste

Coming up
ISJO and GHD will host two Circular Lab workshops with stakeholders involved in the demand and supply of waste wood. If you would like to register for the workshop you can click the image above or register here.

The purpose of the workshop is to understand market supply needs and match them with demand. Additionally, samples of wood waste will be requested to test for technical and material analysis supporting feasibility of material for certain markets.

What is circular economy?
Circular economy is a framework to use and manage materials required to meet the needs of society in such a way that does not deplete finite resources, retains value in closed-loop systems, and regenerates degraded ecological systems.