UK firm finds way to recycle MDF

The world’s first ever technology to recycle MDF (medium-density fibre boards) waste has moved a step closer to reality. The UK firm, MDF Recovery, has successfully concluded proof-of-concept trials to develop a commercially viable process to recover wood fibre from waste MDF.

It is the culmination of more than 6 years’ research and development to create a technology which will offer the first alternative to the use of landfill or burning to dispose of MDF. According to the woodworking website, furnitureproduction.net, Britain alone disposes of around 3,50,000 tonnes of MDF each year.

The solution generates a new raw material source for the wood and natural fibre industry that reduces the demand on standing forests. The recovered fibre is of the same high quality as virgin wood fibre and provides feedstock to the manufacturers of MDF board, insulation products and horticultural growing products.

Co-founder and managing director, Mr. Craig Bartlett, is now ready to take the proprietary technology to the commercial market. “Our technology can be retro-fitted or designed into new plants, and offers a robust solution for reworking waste and increasing the yield at the MDF manufacturing facility,” he said.

‘Zero-waste production’ is now a real possibility. The financial payback is dependent on the size of MDF plant, but in larger plants is expected within 18 months.

The technology can also process industrial and commercial forms of MDF waste, allowing manufacturers to take back material from their customers. This has been particularly attractive to the retail sector, which utilises significant amounts of MDF in shop fittings, reports furnitureproduction.net.

MDF was first devised in the 1970s and today more than 50 million tonnes are produced globally every year, servicing the furniture and construction markets. It is estimated that up to 60,000 tons of MDF waste could be recycled by MDF Recovery each year in the UK, and almost 3 million tonnes globally.

Before establishing MDF Recovery Craig worked as head of research and consultancy at the UK Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA), developing a wide range of technological solutions in partnership with industry and academia.

 

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