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More forestry wood waste reaching chipping plants, reducing emissions

Forest Enhancement Society of BC funding fibre salvage and recovery projects
Slash chips loaded by Atli Chip LP for delivery to a mill. Courtesy Atli Chip LP.

A program working to deliver more forestry wood waste to a north Vancouver Island chip plant for salvaging has resulted in both environmental and economic benefits.

Logging waste from forestry, including treetops, broken logs and wood chunks, can be salvaged for use in other products at chipping facilities. But because access to and transportation of these materials is often difficult — and hence uneconomic — they are often instead burned to reduce wildfire risk, resulting in greenhouse emissions.

To address this challenge, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) provided about $375,000 in funding to Kurt Leroy Trucking in 2019 to develop fibre salvage and recovery projects in partnership with Western Forest Products Ltd. and Atli Chip Limited Partnership (LP).

Under these programs, salvage materials from forestry sites are transported to the Atli Chip facility at Beaver Cove, B.C., where they are transformed into chip products used in a range of consumer goods. This facility is a limited partnership between Atli Resources LP (the forestry arm of ‘Namgis First Nation), Paper Excellence Canada, and Wahkash Contracting Ltd.

As a result of the project, more wood waste that would otherwise be outside the economic range of the chip plant is now being salvaged there, instead of burned at site, said Kurt Leroy, in a press release. The current project is planned to produce 23,000 cubic metres of salvage wood from two local tree farm licenses — reducing emissions by the equivalent of 830 vehicles operated over a year.

“Turning this material into chips reduces the amount of fibre left behind after primary forest harvesting,” said Quinton Hayward, Paper Excellence chief forester. “This results in better utilization of the forest resources and a net carbon reduction.”

There have also been economic benefits of the program, said Don Svanvik, ‘Namgis Chief Councillor.

“The chip plant has hired some ‘Namgis members and is looking to hire more, as well as train some of our youth,” said Svanvik. “The FESBC funding has assisted in the creation of the second shift at the chip plant—increasing employment.”

Such collaborative partnerships benefit all British Columbians, said Dave Conly, FESBC operations manager.

“We are supporting local jobs on Vancouver Island while supporting environmentally sustainable consumer products and taking strong action on climate change,” said Conly.

RELATED: Rally in support of forestry industry held in downtown Campbell River

Old growth deferrals to help ensure forestry industry’s viability — MLA

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