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Firm claims breakthrough in recycling of MDF waste

The world’s first ever technology to recycle MDF waste has seemingly moved a step closer to reality, according to MDF Recovery, the firm behind the approach.

The company says it has successfully concluded proof of concept trials to develop a commercially viable process for recovering wood fibre from waste MDF.

It is the culmination of more than six 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, says the firm. Britain alone disposes of around 350,000 tonnes of MDF each year.

The solution generates a new raw material source for the wood/natural fibre industry that reduces the demand on standing forests. The recovered fibre is said to be 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 Craig Bartlett says the firm is now ready to take the proprietary technology to the commercial market.

Craig, who established MDF Recovery in 2009, said: “We have already begun discussions with a number of leading companies and organisations operating in the MDF production and waste industries and look forward to progressing these during the early part of 2017.

“The recycling process we have developed is a genuine world first. There is no other environmentally friendly alternative to the use of landfill or burning to dispose of MDF waste.

“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. 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 – a so called ‘closed loop’ solution.” This has been particularly attractive to the retail sector which utilises significant amounts of MDF in shop fittings.

MDF – medium density fibreboard – was first devised in the 1970s and today more than 50million tons are produced globally every year, servicing the furniture, construction and DIY markets.

Prominent markets outside of the UK include Continental Europe, USA, Russia, Brazil and China. Demand is increasing in Eastern Europe and Asia.

It is estimated that between 30,000 and 60,000 tons of MDF waste could be recycled by MDF Recovery each year in the UK and almost 3million tons globally.

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