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COMBUSTION? RECYCLING COMES FIRST

CombustioneThe Saviola Group, which has always focused on recycling 100% of post-consumer wood, has found itself “competing” in recent years for the collection of raw materials with biomass power plants, which instead burn wood to create heat and power.

The system of economic incentives for the production of electricity from renewable sources can create distortions in the market for post-consumer wood. The deep meaning of the regulation, namely to stimulate the burning of biomasses from “natural” sources (pruning, mowing, forest maintenance waste etc…) instead of fossil fuels, finds wide agreement.


The term “biomass” lends itself to ambiguity, because it does not distinguish the origin of the wood itself. Wood is considered biomass in a broad sense. The little branch from the public park is regarded on a par with an old pallet: both, shredded, become a chip of wood. Yet the first is a true biomass, a natural product, the other is waste: for example, it may have been used in an industrial process with chemical treatments or contain non-woody material not adequately separated.

This approach has the following negative effects:

  • it creates a distortion in the market, reversing the natural hierarchy that puts recycling first, and combustion for energy production in second place;
  • it reduces the availability of recovered wood products intended for the panel industry;
  • it compromises the profitability of the wood-furniture production chain, leading to a possible contraction in employment levels: a ton of wood used in the mechanical recycling industry creates 25 times more employment than its use as a fuel resource;
  • it has a negative impact on the environment.

Hence the necessity of focussing on the recycling of wood, allowing the exploitation for energy purposes of only the portion that is no longer exploitable, as is already the case for the power generation at the Group’s plants.

TORNA SU