Wood: Material-Specific Data
The sources of wood in municipal solid waste (MSW) include furniture, other durable goods (e.g., cabinets for electronic equipment), wood packaging (crates, pallets) and some other miscellaneous products.
This web page is a brief summary of wood material-specific data. For more comprehensive information, check out the 2018 Data Tables on the Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures Report page.
On this page:
Pallets are estimated to account for over 90 percent of total wood packaging. EPA based its generation and recycling methodologies for wood pallets on market research report data, combined with data from the Center for Forest Products Marketing and Management at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. In 2018, the generation of wood in MSW was 18.1 million tons. This equaled 6.2 percent of total MSW generation that year.
EPA estimated wood pallet recycling (usually by chipping for uses such as mulch or bedding material, but excluding wood combusted as fuel) at 3.1 million tons in 2018 for a 17.1 percent recycling rate.
The total amount of wood in MSW that was combusted in 2018 was 2.8 million tons. This was 8.2 percent of MSW combusted with energy recovery that year.
In 2018, landfills received 12.2 million tons of wood. This was 8.3 percent of all MSW landfilled that year.
Please read the EPA Methodology Document for further information on estimating the generation and management of wood.
Summary Table and Graph
The data below are from 1960 to 2018, relating to the total number of tons of wood generated, recycled, composted, combusted with energy recovery and landfilled.
|Combustion with Energy Recovery||-||10||150||2,080||2,290||2,270||2,310||2,570||2,880||2,840|
Sources: Market research data; and data from the Center for Forest Products Marketing and Management (Virginia Polytechnic Institute).
A dash in the table means that data is not available.