Woodcircus

Behind the scenes

Wood we do not waste

21 September 2020

Unique in Europe, bio-circular systems giving life to a virtuous economic cycle are becoming more and more widespread.

This is the case of wood construction value network and forest-based supply chain. It is characterised by efficient utilisation of virgin wood resources and side streams of wood-based industries, and by collection and further use of recovered and recycled wood during the different steps of the entire supply chain process.

Thanks to our analysis, surveys, literature reviews and after many interesting discussions and in-depth interviews with stakeholders, insights about forest-based industry organisations, public actors and their performance are now available in the context of the circular economy concept. In particular our activities focus to assemble the existing knowledge and good practices on wood-based raw materials, virgin and recycled, and their processing technologies, as well as to product and value-add potential based on side streams of wood product industries and wood-based wastes from construction and demolition, with specific attention to wood construction sector and value network.

The analysis shows a broad map of a sector in which side stream and wood waste value chains are rather efficient and well-functioning with a good overall management of material streams, albeit the value chains are structured in different ways across Europe. The strengths are obvious for industrial by-products which provide income for suppliers, whereas construction and especially demolition wastes are not always economically attractive. The performance of value chains is also viewed differently by suppliers and customers of different-level side streams and products.

The sector is characterised by a system of collaboration among stakeholders of value chains and other actors that provide considerable economic and environmental benefits for European citizens and society at large as well as for national economies and local communities. Within the whole sector, the producers are moving down new innovation paths characterised by using a variety of advanced applied technologies and mixtures of different materials within the value chains. Companies are now dealing with eco-compatible production, using both virgin, recyclable and recycled materials with the lowest possible environmental impact. More in detail, the industrial sector is progressively aware that adoption of a circular economy model represents a radical change and requires innovative systems to (re)think production processes and consumption habits. A clear paradigm shift is taking place.

All this is proven by fascinating and innovative research, development and also investment projects launched in many parts of Europe, and by the progressive introduction of targeted policies, with the scope to promote environmentally friendly transition to the circular economy.

Challenges of circularity for the forest-based sector are manifold: to improve the resource and energy efficiency in material processing, to enhance collaboration and clarify responsibilities in the network, to find best solutions to the logistics issues such as transportation and storage of wastes, to improve the quality and attraction of recycle products, and to establish new uses, markets and valorisation, among other issues. Innovative products and advanced technology for by-products and recycle materials are under development thanks to technology manufacturers, industry companies, public and private waste management platforms and the different partnerships among the sector.

Competition on side streams between different uses and users and difficult market penetration with recycle products are commonly known facts. Triple Helix collaboration works well in some regions, but generally speaking it should be improved. Except big corporations of forest and energy sectors, companies often seem to lack know-how, incentives, resources or pressure for RTDI and investments, or even all together.

The entire sector is moving to overcome these challenges. The final scope is to implement a holistic sustainability approach that unifies and leverages economic, societal, environmental and cultural aspects. One of the most interesting features is the possibility to see and to understand more closely and in-depth how the different European realities operate in practice and approach the issues of the four angle sustainability and societal thinking. Although there is still potential to improve, it is noticeable that there is a sort of common objective referring to the principles of the circular bioeconomy.

WoodCircus project and its actors have the chance to play a fundamental role in favouring a wider and broader dissemination of good practices already identified in the various macro-regions in Europe. Anyway, the regions and countries have different opportunities and specific framework conditions, which should be appreciated in policy actions and development priorities.

Giovanni Tosi, COSMOB
Co-leader of WP2
giovanni.tosi@cosmob.it

Giovanni Tosi is the R&D manager for COSMOB. He has a master degree in Ecology of climate change (Faculty of Sciences and Technologies for Environment) and he also got a PhD title in Chemical Sciences after a research about VOC indoor pollution from wood-based products. For about 10 years he has been involved in several R&D activities at national and international level focused on wood-furniture sector. For WoodCircus project, he is co-leader of WP2: Fact finding & Review of State of the Art.

Erkki Verkasalo, LUKE
Co-leader of WP2
erkki.verkasalo@luke.fi

Erkki Verkasalo, Dr.Sc. (Agr.&For.) is Research Professor of wood science and technology at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). He is a leading RTDI expert in Northern Europe on raw materials sources, properties, utilization, product and service markets and value networks among wood products and selected biorefining industries. He has experience for more than 35 years in Finnish and international RTDI activities. In WoodCircus project, he is co-leader of WP2 and partner in other WPs.

Mariapia D’Anghela, COSMOB
m.danghela@cosmob.it

Mariapia D’Anghela is an industrial Ph.D. student in “Global Studies. Economy, Society and Law” at University of Urbino, Italy. She is currently collaborating with COSMOB, the Italian technological centre for the wood-furniture sector, for the implementation of several R&D projects in different fields with particular regard to Circular Economy.

Giovanni Tosi, COSMOB
Co-leader of WP2
giovanni.tosi@cosmob.it

Giovanni Tosi is the R&D manager for COSMOB. He has a master degree in Ecology of climate change (Faculty of Sciences and Technologies for Environment) and he also got a PhD title in Chemical Sciences after a research about VOC indoor pollution from wood-based products. For about 10 years he has been involved in several R&D activities at national and international level focused on wood-furniture sector. For WoodCircus project, he is co-leader of WP2: Fact finding & Review of State of the Art.

Erkki Verkasalo, LUKE
Co-leader of WP2
erkki.verkasalo@luke.fi

Erkki Verkasalo, Dr.Sc. (Agr.&For.) is Research Professor of wood science and technology at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). He is a leading RTDI expert in Northern Europe on raw materials sources, properties, utilization, product and service markets and value networks among wood products and selected biorefining industries. He has experience for more than 35 years in Finnish and international RTDI activities. In WoodCircus project, he is co-leader of WP2 and partner in other WPs.

Mariapia D’Anghela, COSMOB m.danghela@cosmob.it

Mariapia D’Anghela is an industrial Ph.D. student in “Global Studies. Economy, Society and Law” at University of Urbino, Italy. She is currently collaborating with COSMOB, the Italian technological centre for the wood-furniture sector, for the implementation of several R&D projects in different fields with particular regard to Circular Economy.

CONTACT US

Interested in joining the WoodCircus network? Please use the contact form to get in touch with us or contact directly the WoodCircus Ringmaster :

Project Coordinator
Anne-Christine Ritschkoff, VTT
Anne-Christine.Ritschkoff@vtt.fi

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Anne-Christine Ritschkoff
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