Timber to be kept out of landfill

Timaru District Council has agreed to divert timber out of land fill, reducing waste by 18 per cent.

The council has been liaising with Waste Transformation Ltd (WTL) and has agreed to Timaru becoming a pilot site for a slow pyrolysis kiln, which carbonises a range of timber materials into biochar (a charcoal-like substance).

The project would take 3600 tonnes of timber out of the 20,000 tonnes of waste that go to landfill each year.

On Tuesday the council agreed to go ahead with the idea, and chief executive Peter Nixon will reach an agreement with WTL to get the process under way.

In a report to the council, waste minimisation manager Ruth Clarke said the processing unit would be small-scale, with Timaru initially processing low volumes that could be scaled up to larger volumes.

Once the kiln was set up it could also process tyres, which are currently sent to a plant in Foxton.

The project came about after the Canterbury earthquakes, with large volumes of waste timber being produced in the cleanup. It is estimated 250,000 tonnes of treated timber waste will be produced in Christchurch in the next 15 years.

WTL was speaking to national groups regarding the use of the end-product, biochar.

The Timaru Herald