Installers and other contractors are being reminded of new environmental obligations that mean wood products from buildings built between 1950 and 2007 may not be sent direct to recycling without specialist testing for hazardous materials they may contain.

As of last month, timber items including windows, doors, conservatories, fascias, soffits and barge boards have been classified by the Environment Agency as potentially hazardous because of the invisible treatments they may contain. That means they can no longer be sent direct to wood recycling facilities without testing using the WRA’s (Wood Recyclers’ Association) 02 testing suite for any trace of hazardous contamination.

The reminder comes from commercial installer The Window Company (Contracts), which has already established a new process for segregating, sample testing and reporting on all the relevant timber items it removes during replacement and refurbishment projects.

Director of compliance and administration Katie Thornton explained: “There is obviously a cost for the additional skip we have had to acquire to segregate pre-2007 wood and for the WRA 02 testing, which is around £250 per time. However, we have been assured by the WRA that there are no long term plans for windows, doors and ancillary products to stay on the hazardous list if, as an industry, we can act quickly and efficiently and demonstrate together that they do not present an environmental risk.

“We have worked closely with our waste partners to streamline the process as much as we can, and we would like to see other installers and contractors doing the same.

“If everyone impacted by the new rules gets their act together in the way we have done and enough samples are submitted to prove that our waste wood products aren’t actually hazardous, this will hopefully be just a short term requirement.”

The company is directing others in the industry to the WRA website where there is full guidance and a downloadable toolkit for those impacted by the new rules: 


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