Jump to Main Content
Arsenic, copper, and chromium from treated wood products in the U.S. disposal sector
- Jones, Athena S., Marini, Juniper, Solo-Gabriele, Helena M., Robey, Nicole M., Townsend, Timothy G.
- Waste management 2019 v.87 pp. 731-740
- arsenic, chromated copper arsenate, chromium, copper, guidelines, industry, landscaping, leaching, models, mulches, pollution, preservative treated wood, recycling, statistics, waste wood, wood, wood preservatives, wood treatment, wood volume, United States
- Construction and demolition (C&D) wood can be recycled as mulch for landscaping or cogeneration. Limitations to such recycling are dependent on metals concentrations in mulch (As, Cu, and Cr) from the inclusion of waterborne-preservative treated wood. The objective of this study was to evaluate the amount of waterborne-preservative treated wood (by wood volume and by mass of metal) that enters the C&D wood waste stream in the U.S. by utilizing a mass balance approach. A model was developed using wood treatment industry production statistics, estimated leaching rates of metal-based preservatives, and typical service lives of wood products. Outputs of the model indicate that the volumes of waterborne preservative treated wood disposed of may exceed 16 million m3 per year by 2030. The peak yearly metal mass disposed of corresponded to 18,400 metric tons for arsenic and 24,500 tons of chromium in 2013. Given the current trends in production, the mass of copper disposed of will increase to 20,900 tons by 2030. In order to meet regulatory guidelines regarding metals in recycled C&D wood, waterborne-preservative treated wood must be separated and removed. This separation mitigates environmental contamination from wood preservatives such as chromated copper arsenate (CCA).