United Kingdom: There are Plans to Recycle Medium Density Fiberboards

UK-based MDF Recovery Ltd. has developed a proprietary process to recover wood fibers from waste MDF (medium density fiberboard) and is convinced that the technology has moved a step closer to reality.

MDF Recovery Ltd. has successfully concluded proof of concept trials to develop a commercially viable process to recover wood fiber from waste MDF, the company reported in January this year. According to the information, 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. Britain, alone, would throw away around 350,000 tons of MDF each year.

“The solution generates a new raw material source for the wood/natural fiber industry that reduces the demand on standing forests,” MDF Recovery Ltd. underlined. “The recovered fiber is of the same high quality as virgin wood fiber and provides feedstock to the manufacturers of MDF board, insulation products and horticultural growing products.” Tests, conducted by the BioComposites Center at the University of Bangor in 2011, have shown that “the fiber quality (length and width) of the recycled MDF is similar to that of virgin fiber and would not be detrimental to MDF quality”. Now, the company is ready to take the proprietary technology to the commercial market. As reported, MDF Recovery Ltd. has begun discussions with a number of leading companies and organizations operating in the MDF production and waste industries. There are also discussions regarding licensing of the technology for use in MDF recycling plants throughout the world, it is stated on the website.

The managers of the British company look forward to progressing these during the early part of 2017, due to the benefits of this technology: It 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”. As reported, the financial payback is dependent on the size of MDF plant but in larger plants is expected within 18 months.

Market potential

MDF – medium density fiberboard – was first devised in the 1970s and today more than 50 million tons are produced globally every year, servicing the furniture, construction and do-it-yourself (DIY) markets. “Prominent markets outside of the UK include Continental Europe, USA, Russia, Brazil and China. The demand is increasing in Eastern Europe and Asia,” MDF Recovery described the market potential. “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 3 million tons globally.”

The company has set up an advisory panel to help it commercialize the technology.


Photo: pixabay

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