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Recycling: wood

Recycling has become an important part of our lifestyle thanks to an ongoing effort to save energy and conserve the environment.  One of the products we recycle most is wood; the UK generates around 4.5 million tonnes of waste wood a year with over 60% going on to be recycled*, a figure that is happily increasing due to rising landfill taxes.

One end product of wood recycling is wood pellets, compressed sawdust that can be used for a variety of things including animal bedding and heating.  The raw wood material goes through a stringent cleaning and sterilisation process which is followed up by duel dust extraction to produce the pellets, providing a warm absorbent bed for horses.

The process of making wood pellets is quite easy; the wood is first ground into a dust and then compressed and forced through holes, similar to a mincing machine.  This is a heated process and the pellets are held together by a natural lignin in the wood which makes up a quarter of dry wood, so no glue is needed.  The pellets are then left to cool and harden.

Wood pellets have a low moisture content so when small amounts of water are added to the pellets they expand and revert to sawdust making it absorbent and manageable, making mucking out so much easier and reducing the amount of bedding you require.  The ease of storage and transportation provide additional benefits over traditional bedding such as hay.

Wood pellets can also be used for cat litter and smaller animal bedding, such as hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs.

See more on horse bedding and wood pellets.

*Source: Wood Recyclers Association

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