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Ensuring Resource Efficiency: Reuse of Wood to Create New Products

Content provided by PREMAnet, content partner of SME Toolkit

Móveis Kolossal, a Small Brazilian Carpentry

In brief

This small carpentry in Rio Negrinho, Santa Catarina, was able to dramatically reduce wood waste generated during cutting and processing steps by reprocessing cut remainders into slats and boards during less busy working hours. This process yielded high quality products at a significantly lower cost than virgin timber and eased storage space and waste disposal issues for the company.

The challenge

Before deciding to invest in a process to reuse wood scraps, the owner wanted to be sure that the resulting products would be of a quality that was equal or superior to virgin material. Furthermore, the owner had to negotiate with clients to be assured that they would accept to purchase products that were made using such materials. Until that point, waste wood was periodically given away or burned.

Actions taken within the enterprise (after the application of the PREMA GHK guidelines)

As a first step, the owner outsourced the reprocessing of wood remainders to a nearby factory which had a special machine designed to cut the scraps into triangles and then glued them together to form a 2- to 4-meter long board (finger-joints).

Having assured a market for such products, the owner subsequently purchased a second-hand finger-joint machine, which was reconditioned in the carpentry’s own workshop.

Workers were trained to operate this special machine, which was used during less busy periods to reprocess wood remainders into slats and boards.

Environmental benefits

By reprocessing 4m3 of wood scraps into useable products, purchases of virgin timber could be reduced, thereby saving natural resources. Moreover, the generation of CO2 from burning wood scraps is now avoided entirely.

Economic benefits

Investment cost

360 Real (R$)
or R150

For the purchase and reconditioning of a used finger-joint machine

Annual savings

R$ 12,000 *
or R 5,000

On raw material purchases due to reprocessing 7% (i.e. 4m3) of wood scraps at 17% of the cost of virgin timber

Payback period

About 10 days


* Initially, the company purchased 60m3 of raw planks at a cost of R$ 300 / m3 = R$ 18’000

The cost including reprocessed wood remainders:

56m3 of new timber at R$ 300 / m3 = R$ 16’800

4m3 of reprocessed timber at R$ 50 / m3 = R$ 200 (R 82)

Total =  R$ 17’000 (R 7,000)

Monthly savings: R$ 18’000 - R$ 17’000 = R$ 1’000 (R 412)

Annual savings: R$ 18’000 x 12 months = R$ 12’000 (R 5,000)

Organizational Improvements

Prior to the measures taken, wood scraps had accumulated in a disorganised pile in one corner of the working area. The decision to invest in the finger-joint process liberated precious storage space, addressed the need to regularly dispose of such waste, and made the working environment more safe for employees as they were no longer tripping over wood remainders (now seen as valuable raw material and treated accordingly) in the production area.

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