University Looks for New Recycling Market to Handle Chemically Treated Decks

Blacksburg, Va. – Virginia Tech is looking for a way to clean up after a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling that could direct 1 billion feet of potentially contaminated wood to landfills. Beginning in January 2004, the EPA will discontinue the residential use of a pesticide used to treat wood. Chromated copper arsenic (CCA) has called attention to itself for potentially adverse effects on health, particularly of children.

Authorities at Virginia Tech’s wood science and forest products department say the research may result in tighter regulations on the disposal of CCA-treated wood and force the cost of disposing old decks to increase over the next few years. Researchers have determined that more than 80 percent of a discarded CCA-treated deck can be salvaged for use in other products, such as trash can containers, pallets, outdoor furniture or railings. The university hopes CCA wood will find a new destination in the waste stream that is not the landfill.