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Thursday, 19 January 2017 12:50

Recycling of the MDF wood waste mountain moves a step closer

After 6 years of research, a commercially viable process to recover wood fibre from the huge amounts of waste medium-density fibreboard is close to reality.

MDF Recovery has successfully concluded proof of concept trials that will offer the first alternative to the use of landfill or burning to dispose of medium-density fibreboard (MDF). 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 of the same high quality as virgin wood fibre and provides feedstock to the manufacturers of MDF board, insulation products and horticultural growing products.

MDF Recoverys Craig Bartlett copyCo-founder and Managing Director Craig Bartlett 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  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.

Before establishing MDF Recovery with co-founder Jim New, Craig worked as Head of Research & Consultancy at the UK Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA), developing a wide range of technological solutions in partnership with industry and academia.

MDF Recovery has set up an advisory panel to help it commercialise the company's technology.

The business has to date been funded via a mix of UK and Welsh Government, Angel Investor and Industrial funding.

www.mdfrecovery.co.uk