Recycling is the ideal way to deal with green waste. Here we examine how to pick the right woodchipper.

A lot of waste is generated in the horticulture industry and it has to be dealt with efficiently and economically. Many in the industry find green waste a nuisance. Others see it as an opportunity.
We should take a step back and view the whole situation. We all need to look at where the waste is generated and why. Grounds maintenance crews, tree surgeons, landscapers and nurseries are now establishing strategies for minimising waste. This can involve aspects of landscape design, plant selection and slow-growing varieties, as well as reusing and recycling materials.
The increasing cost of fuel and the limitations placed on man-hours by the Working Time Directive mean transport is more expensive than ever. Carting truckloads of bulky brash back to the depot is wasteful of money and time when the material could be chipped at source to reduce the number of journeys, or chipped and left on site as mulch or to compost. Small chippers and shredders also solve the problem of what to do with green waste for domestic garden contractors.
The development of woodchippers and shredders has been driven by need. There is now a wide choice for handling timber, brushwood, soft prunings and expired bedding plants and weeds. Choosing the right machine entails looking at the types and volumes of materials to be processed and also where processing will take place.
The types of materials will determine whether you need a chipper or shredder. Brambles, soft prunings and materials contaminated with stones should be put through a shredder. Woodchippers are designed to tackle timber and woody materials. There are also combination chipper/shredders.
The volume of material to be processed will indicate the most appropriate size of machine. Tub grinders can process huge volumes of mixed waste quickly, though their price may mean the best option is to hire one when needed.
For shredding large volumes of mixed debris, Jenz recently launched the German-built AZ600. Available in the UK from Westcon Equipment of Wimborne, Dorset, it replaces the AZ55 and is said to have greater versatility, lower operating costs and a higher capacity. Westcon customers had an input into the design, so the machine suits the UK wood and green-waste market.
The AZ600 has many options: electric or a choice of 455hp or 600hp diesel engine; hammers for waste wood, green waste or logs; infeed conveyors of three, four or six metres; a discharge conveyor of 3.8m, 5.8m or 7.8m; and chassis options that include static frame, twin axle or tracks. The machine can deliver around 100 tonnes per hour.
When investing in a chipper or shredder, it is essential to decide whether a mobile or static machine is most appropriate and whether engine-powered or tractor-driven equipment will best match your needs. Don’t forget to consider your towing vehicle in terms of the weight it can safely move and the distances that mobile machinery needs to travel. Access to the site and its terrain are also important.
Stockport-based Fletcher Stewart recognises that getting serious chipping capacity into a restricted area can be a problem. Its answer is the 24hp Jo-Beau M500 self-propelled chipper. The overall width is just 72cm but it can take 120mm-diameter material. To keep dimensions small, the discharge rotates to fit within the width and length of the machine. The infeed chute is designed with a parallel 50cm opening on to the chipping drum, which is fitted with reversible chipping knives.
The number of machines suitable for mobile garden-maintenance contractors also continues to grow. Pinnacle has introduced the four-horsepower Primo Eliet, Makita is offering a 5.5hp petrol-engine shredder and Claymore has introduced the 5.5hp Simplicity shredder.
Health and safety is paramount and operator training is a must for commercial chippers and shredders. The new Arborist 19-28 shows Greenmech’s attention to safety features. The 50hp, 7.5" (19cm) chipper has combined roller control and emergency stop in a single non-electrical control at the side, away from the danger zone where operators could be struck by ejected material.
The Health & Safety Executive produces an Arboriculture & Forest Advisory Group leaflet on woodchippers.

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