Research collaboration strikes optimistic note on wood recycling


The Niaga production line.

A collaboration between DSM-Niaga and ECOR announced on 20 December will focus on developing fully recyclable and healthier alternatives for particleboard, MDF and other panel materials which can be used in industries such as building & construction, furniture, interior decoration and displays.

Looking at the piles of waste generated by the interior and construction industries, design for recycling is inevitable, says a press release about the announcement. Both ECOR and DSM-Niaga have been redesigning products to be fully recyclable back into the same product. The irreversible combination of materials and ingredients used in most products made with MDF and particleboard is the biggest challenge for technically and economically feasible recycling. Both ECOR and DSM-Niaga want to outsmart complexity for healthier and recyclable products.

Eric Logtens, CEO ECOR-NOBLE Environmental Benelux commented: “The concept that traditional materials like tabletops are up for incineration or disposal after their life cycle will be eliminated. Combining ECOR and Niaga technologies, the core materials of products can be made from recycled content, and can be fully recycled after use.”

Chris Reutelingsperger, Chief Technology Officer DSM-Niaga commented: “By combining ECOR and Niaga, waste becomes a treasure. I can’t stop thinking of all the possibilities, and I hope that designers will approach us for ideas to make beautiful products and challenge us to broaden the possibilities of these technologies.”

In recent months ECOR and DSM-Niaga explored a collaboration by combining each other’s technologies. The technology of ECOR can make materials from natural fibers, with water, pressure, and heat only. DSM Niaga manufactures products by using a reversible adhesive. This adhesive is said to enable easy decoupling of different material layers, for full recovery and high value recycling. Both technologies were combined and tested in diverse product applications, like furniture and displays. The preliminary results led to further investigating of applications and will lead to new fully recyclable products, say the firms.

“Both technologies combined offer a fully recyclable alternative to all products made from MDF and particleboard, without compromising on material safety, quality, and recyclability,” according to the announcement. The joint objective of both companies is to offer manufacturing processes to local companies, solving local waste problems and boosting local economies on a global scale.

NOBLE Environmental Technologies has developed the ECOR technology. It is a waste-to-product manufacturing process and results in “high-performance, sustainable and healthy materials,” which offer a fit with circular economy principles (in terms of starting with waste resources and enabling recycling at the end of a product’s life cycle). ECOR is made of 100% recycled cellulose fibers locally sourced from urban, farm and process waste materials, is free of toxins and VOCs and C2C certified. It is made with water, pressure and heat. For more information see ww.ecorbenelux.com.

DSM-Niaga specialises in design for recyclability, and is a joint venture between Royal DSM, a firm with expertise in life sciences and materials, and product design start-up Niaga. ECOR offers technology for circular materials and has an R&D facility in Venlo, the Netherlands.

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