Recycling MDF waste moves a step closer with successful concept trials

UK-company MDF Recovery has successfully concluded proof of concept trials to develop a commercially viable process to recover wood fibre from waste medium density fibreboard (MDF).

The work is a the culmination of more than six years’ research and development to create a technology that will offer the first alternative to use landfill or burning to dispose MDF.

The research creates a new raw material source for the wood/natural fibre industry, hence, reducing the demand on standinf 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 Recovery is also ready to take the proprietary technology to the commercial market.

Co-founder and Managing Director Craig Bartlett 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.”

The 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, according to Bartlett. Now, zero waste is a possibility and 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,” said Bartlett. 

The research is especially 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 annually – servicing the furniture, construction and DIY markets.

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.