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Where can I recycle my wood pellet packaging?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 March 2014 at 8:42 am

Q: I have a new red 24 pellet burner. I use one 15kg recyclable plastic bag per day. I live in Flintshire and the authority will not allow collection of plastic recyclables. They suggested I put them in ordinary refuse for landfill! They even said I could drive 12 miles to a skip site. What to do?

A: As you know, the plastic packaging is essential to keep the pellets dry, so dispensing with the packaging, or going for a more environmentally sound alternative is not currently an option. And at the moment not many councils do provide recycling facilities for plastic packaging. 

Nor, as far as we’ve been able to find out, are there any pellet companies who offer to collect and recycle the packaging on their customers’ behalf.

We thought we’d go straight to the top with this question and contact the UK Pellet Council. The UKPC chair, Richard Smith, admits that there is a problem with customers not being able to recycle plastic packaging but that collection by individual companies was still some way off.

“This is an industry that is still very small and logistics is a big challenge as it is,” he said. “Almost everybody uses third parties to deliver so sending couriers to then collect used packaging would be very difficult.”

Mr Smith did say he would bring the matter up at the next UKPC meeting.

As the industry grows, there may be companies who seek to differentiate themselves by offering collection of recyclable packaging but there doesn't seem to be any promises for the near future.

In the meantime, Mr Smith said, it should be up to local authorities to start offering the service.

“People should put pressure on their councils,” he said.

You may consider it worth lobbying your local authority to supply a recycling service, but as you know that cost will ultimately be passed onto you, the taxpayer.

Getting your wood pellet supplier to take responsibility for their own packaging is probably a more effective long term tool. Once one manufacturer starts to offer this service, the cost of having to collect and recycle packaging balanced against the cost of potentially losng a customer to a company who does, may encourage more to follow suit.

So get out there and lobby your supplier – these things don't usually change until the consumer starts making a stand! 

More Information

YouGen guide to biomass

From the blog

Twelve facts about wood pellet fuel (Feb 2010)

Biomass fuel and supply (March 2009)

How to tell if your wood fuel is up to standard (July 2009

Photo Credit: mjp* via Compfight cc

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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5 comments - read them below or add one

nath.georgeComment left on: 10 September 2015 at 1:23 pm

If a used pallet cannot be repaired and reused, it must be recycled or sent to a landfill. The best option, of course, is pallet recycling. In the case of a used wood pallet that has reached the end of its life, the components are salvaged for reuse in other pallets or the wood is ground for use as landscape mulch, animal bedding, or wood stove pellets. Greets!

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 13 March 2014 at 3:18 pm

There are some interesting comments about this on our facebook page too: 

Helen Taylor I was told by a pellet bag manufacturer that pellet bags are fine to put in supermarket plastic bag recycling facilities. He said that it is all the same plastic. So that is what we do with ours. 11 March at 09:18 · Like   Peter Gibbon I would keep them or give them to someone that has a bulk pellet storage silo, because you will need them one day when you have to dig it out to get to the bottom of it... I know this very well... 11 March at 09:33 · Like   Kim Hedges Write to the company and ask them to change packaging to that of double lined paper bags - the same as cat litter gets sold in.


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Mark Brown

Mark BrownComment left on: 11 March 2014 at 11:06 am

At Superhome 59 we are supplied by Midland Bioenergy. Andrew Brindley who runs Midland Bioenergy will allow his customers to return their used bags back to him. All he asks is that you bundle up 400 bags and secure them to a pallet. That pallet is collected and returned to Midland Bioenergy free of charge when your next pellet delivery happens. I can tell (from some of the bags I have received) that they have been pre-used. They are thick and rugged so will last a few rounds. However, as they are stitched at the top they will eventually weaken.

We also use bags for general garden waste such as stones. We pack our wood kindling up in them for storage outside before being used on the wood stove. This keeps the kindling dry. The bags are not very UV stable so will only be suitable for two year's outside storage in sunlight before they will break. They will last a lot longer if stored inside.

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JosieqComment left on: 11 March 2014 at 10:29 am

We only use 1 - 2 bags per day and use them in the kitchen waste bin which gets rid of a few. In Cumbria all plastic is recycled so we get ours taken away in the recycling

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catchercradleComment left on: 11 March 2014 at 8:53 am

I use the few plastic bags I get to put the small amount of non-recyclable rubish we produce in rather than buying black bin bags. I guess there are too many for you to use them all up like that.

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