Contaminated wood

When using wood as a construction material it must be treated in order to protect it from moisture, insects and fungal attack. In this regard, there exist mainly two methods of wood treatment: heat treatment and chemical treatment.

When the protection has been achieved with a chemical treatment it must be taken into account that some of the chemicals used for it pose hazardous characteristics, which turn the wastes of that good into hazardous waste, which must be managed as so.

The following table includes a list of the most commonly used wood preservatives in Europe, separated into ‘hazardous’ and ‘non-hazardous:



Chromated copper arsenates (CCA)Copper azole
Borate preservativesMicronized copper
CreosoteSodium silicate-based preservatives
PentachlorophenolLinseed Oil

Waste wood must be assessed for hazardous properties and then classified by production process using the appropriate European Waste Catalogue (EWC) code. Waste wood should be considered hazardous unless proved otherwise. As guidance, the document Waste Wood Assess- ment Guidance for the Construction and Demo- lition Sectors – Guidance notes, elaborated by the NFDC (National Federation of Demolition Contractors) can be used.

Additionally, it must be taken into account that beyond the hazardous wood preservatives used as a protective treatment the wood may have been contaminated during their life with other hazardous substances, which would also make the waste of such contaminated wood to be considered as ‘hazardous waste’.


Below, you can find some of the most relevant articles regarding this topic:


This article can be found in the 2022 edition of the document. Find the full publication here:

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