Important numbers highlighted by the Rilegno consortium which however reiterates: “the government should provide incentives and relief to companies involved in wood recovery.”

It is now well established that wood is one of the most precious natural materials available to man, both for the multiple uses to which it can be put and for the time required for its production. Add to this the fact that it is able to reproduce naturally, it is hygienic because it is easily cleanable, it is hygroscopic as it is able to absorb humidity, and it is 100% biodegradable, therefore easily recoverable.

We are therefore faced with the most eco-sustainable material known to man, with an almost infinite life cycle, if treated correctly: its recycling allows us to save energy, improve the quality of the air we breathe and, above all, avoids waste of natural resources fundamental to our life.

A precious material even after its primary use has come to an end, its correct recycling, in fact, makes it a resource again in multiple areas. The recovered wood waste can be destined for production plants for wooden agglomerates for the furniture industry, for paper mills for the production of cellulose pulp, for the green building sector for the creation of concrete blocks, for transformation plants for the production of compost or, after an initial transformation, to incineration plants as fuel (including those suitable for biomass combustion) for the production of energy and heat.

It is therefore essential that both waste production and collection circuits, the domestic one and the industrial-commercial one, always work better and correctly to recover the wood waste in the most appropriate way possible which, let us remember, can derive from:

  • Fruit boxes
  • Packing crates
  • Pallets
  • Demolition beams
  • Aces
  • Pallets
  • Mobile
  • Electrical cable reels
  • Pruning

Landfilling wood waste is absolutely not recommended as it constitutes a potential source of pollution because the biogas (60% methane, 40% carbon dioxide) produced by the anaerobic degradation of organic material contributes to the Greenhouse Effect.

The main and fundamental player in the Italian panorama when it comes to wood recycling is Rilegno, the national consortium for the collection, recovery and recycling of wooden packaging, founded in 1998 following the entry into force of Legislative Decree n.22 of 1997, also called the Ronchi Decree, which provided for a new waste management system based on separate waste collection, and no longer on landfill, with the aim of recovering the raw material in a broader logic of “circular economy”.

And Rilegno itself, with more than 410 private platforms distributed throughout Italy, communicates the data relating to 2016: the overall recovery rate of packaging waste is equal to 63.5%, 1 million 627 thousand tonnes of wood waste are been recycled and over 720 thousand tonnes regenerated and re-issued for consumption. To help better understand these numbers, the Consortium explains that the Colosseum could be filled 27 times with the achieved amount of recycled wood material.

And therefore Italy is not far from the 80% target set by the European Union for 2030 as regards the recycling of packaging and wood waste, placing itself in the top places with high percentages already achieved, compared to the other member states.

Very important and noteworthy is the agreement that Rilegno has signed with Anci (National Association of Italian Municipalities) to be able to deal not only with industrial packaging waste, but also with wood waste deriving from the domestic circuit: thanks to its agreements, in fact, can guarantee the collection of wood waste in 4,429 Italian municipalities.

President Nicola Semeraro declares on the Consortium website:

Wood is a natural, precious, infinitely recyclable material. Its valorization from waste to resource for the production and industrial circuit generates ecological and economic benefits: recycling wood means saving energy, improving air quality while avoiding waste. The Italian wood recycling industry is an excellence recognized in Europe and works thanks to Rilegno.

But even more can be done in this logic of recovery of the wood resource: President Semeraro, in an interview given on 23 June 2017 to the newspaper Il Giorno, asks the Italian Government to provide greater help to those who work in the circular economy providing advantages in the payment of the waste disposal tax, established by the Municipalities, for companies involved in the recovery of wood products. To this end, there is talk of a bill, on which Rilegno is working, to guarantee tax relief to companies that are up to date with their collections to ensure that they only pay what is due to the offices. This is because, as is well known, the waste tax is calculated on the basis of the square meter and the wood recovery plants include very large structures in terms of square footage, with the consequent payment of very large sums that discourage reuse.

Rilegno’s number one declares again to Il Giorno:

We import almost 85-90% of what we consume, not because we don’t have wood, but because we don’t have a forestry policy. Our work is important precisely because we are a country that imports all its wood. “ And he continues: “Europe tells us to collect more, so there is the possibility of increasing recovery, but first we should increase recycling and therefore also investments.

And nothing can be said from this perspective to the Consortium itself given that, during its Assembly held in Cesenatico, its operational headquarters since its inception, in addition to presenting the final data for 2016, it declared the use of 22 million euros to co-finance collection and recycling activities.

Therefore, not only government aid is fundamental, which is desirable in the near future, but also the need to make citizens aware of the importance of the work carried out by the Consortium and its entire network of companies, to draw attention to what is possible to do even in one’s own small way, raising public awareness of those “circular economy” issues that are so important for Europe and for the future of our country.


Many mistakenly think that paper is the recycling material par excellence. In reality, at each of its life cycles, approximately 20% of the material is thrown away. Wood, on the other hand, can be recycled completely and as often as you want! (Nicola Semeraro, Rilegno president)