Typical Impurities in Recyclable Wood and Their Effects

ood Patterns on your Construction MaterialsForests are currently among the fastest disappearing natural resources worldwide. Wood, however, remains the leading raw material for many industries, including construction, furniture making, and paper. It also forms a raw material for a range of industrial processes. Minimising wood waste, therefore, is essential.

Wood scrap recycling is the best option for minimising this waste. Hardwoods, softwoods, hardboards, plywood and MDF are some of the wood types that can be recycled.  But in most cases, these scrap wood types contain various contaminants, which make it impossible to reuse the wood without professional treatments. Here are some of these contaminants, their effects, and methods of separation from recyclable wood.

Paint and Varnish

Varnish and paint form the leading options for wood surface treatment to protect your wooden items from water damage and wear and enhance their appearance. These surface treatments, however, may contain lead and asbestos, which are both linked to cancer. Paint and varnish are often removed by sandblasting and cleaning with rotating brushes.


Wooden products are held together using metal components like screws and nails. These metallic pieces can cause grave harm when the wood is reused with minimal processing. Magnets are used to pick out ferrous metals like nails while an eddy current separator can pick non-ferrous items like brass and aluminium fittings.


A range of chemicals is used to boost the properties of wood and protect it from insects and harsh weather elements. Most of these pesticides and chemicals are hazardous even in the smallest quantities. They are washed off using various chemical mixtures after testing to identify their composition.

With these impurities, you now appreciate that wood recycling is not as easy as finding an alternative use for scrap wood. As such, you should involve a waste management company in your recycling process. This way, your scrap wood will be safe for re-use in other items or as a raw material.