Reusing timber

Date Published

16 August 2022

Document Type



Timber is a valuable resource that, in recent years, is being used more efficiently, with increasingly little waste being produced throughout the supply chain.

Demolition waste contains a wide range of materials that may span back several decades or even centuries. Some materials may be appropriate for direct re-use or for recycling, but others may be treated with chemicals of uncertain origin. For the latter, options are generally limited to combustion for heat or electricity production. However, heavily contaminated wood, which has been treated with chemicals that have now been withdrawn from the market due to safety concerns, may require specialist disposal.

Key Information

There has been a significant reduction in timber waste, but more can be done.

Where wood cannot be reused, it should be recycled.

Decaying wood releases carbon so replacement planting is needed to reabsorb the excess.

Case studies

A new workshop/shelter for project work at the Architectural Association’s Hooke Park campus has been built and designed by the students themselves. The workshop is the latest in the collection of innovative timber buildings at Hooke Park.

The Royal Botanic Garden, established in 1670 as a physic garden, is now a worldrenowned centre for plant science, research
and education.