Woodchip push continues
Councils and landscape gardeners are being urged to consider recycled woodchip as an eco-friendly and practical solution for pathways, parks and mulch.The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has renewed its calls for large-scale users of mulch to take part in trials designed to demonstrate both economic benefits and improved performance from woodchip.
According to WRAP recycled woodchip is one of the best-kept secrets in the landscaping industry, a fact borne out by recent research which showed only three per cent of landscaping professionals are aware of its potential for use as a loose surfacing material.
Mulch made from recycled timber naturally suppresses weeds and conserves soil moisture while woodchip for surfacing paths is cheap compared to other materials and comes in a variety of colours to fit the surroundings.
Softer grades and smaller sizes of chip that conform with safety standards are also readily available for surfacing children's play areas.
As the wood has been used before, recycled woodchip has a low moisture content, which helps to make it more durable, often taking up to five years to break down.
Pallets from the packaging industry are the primary raw material for recycled woodchip but some processors also use off-cuts from the furniture industry.
The demand for recycled woodchip in the landscaping sector has grown in the last few years with more organisations using the material and an increasing number of suppliers entering the market.
To build on this WRAP is running a campaign to demonstrate how the product is being used as an effective and versatile solution in a variety of landscaping applications.
The benefits revealed:
The natural degradation process is slower with recycled wood chip - helped by its low water content and its fibrous nature.
Recycled woodchip reduces maintenance requirements such as weeding by acting as an efficient weed suppressant. It also lasts a long time and is not easily blown away by the wind.
As recycled woodchip knits together well and is dense, it adheres effectively to steep slopes. In addition, it can be used in locations where some loose surfacing materials are rapidly washed downhill or blown away by the wind.
Organic dyes are used to produce recycled woodchip in a variety of colours including natural shades that highlight plant foliage and others that are suitable for more decorative uses.
Recycled woodchip does not harm surrounding areas and plants if moved, and does not damage mowers on surrounding grass.
Resistant to wind erosion, recycled woodchip acts as an insulation layer reducing the effects of ground freezing and always provides a usable surface and safe footing, even during rain.
Clean and easy to handle when laying, recycled woodchip also does not stick to shoes.
Unlike thick gravel recycled woodchip is easy for people pushing wheelchairs or pushchairs and is resistant to rutting by wheels.
It is also non-toxic and safe for children and animals.
By Sam Bond