FIRA - Technical Information - Recycling MDF
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Recycling MDF

The amount of MDF waste produced at the furniture production stage is in the region of 180,000 tonnes per annum. The vast majority of this waste, almost 99%, is directed towards landfill. Unlike particleboard, which may be recycled to some extent to produce fresh particleboard, there are production problems concerning the recycling of MDF to produce fresh MDF board. Consequently, MDF is not currently recycled in order to produce fresh MDF.

The amount of MDF waste produced at the furniture production stage is in the region of 180,000 tonnes per annum. The vast majority of this waste, almost 99%, is directed towards landfill. Unlike particleboard, which may be recycled to some extent to produce fresh particleboard, there are production problems concerning the recycling of MDF to produce fresh MDF board. Consequently, MDF is not currently recycled in order to produce fresh MDF.

Waste wood DustIn response to the Government’s Waste Strategy 2000, which has set targets on the reduction of waste sent to landfill, other options regarding the treatment of MDF waste have to be considered. These options include

  • Re-manufacturing – re-use of waste MDF to produce items of furniture.

  • Production of animal bedding.

  • Composting – (bio-degradation of MDF, ideally MDF dust).

  • Burning of MDF with heat recovery.

  • Burning of MDF without heat recovery.

In spite of the options presented above, the vast majority of waste MDF is still sent to landfill. Considering that the consumption of MDF in 2004 was in excess of

1 million m3 and that this figure is set to increase, other options which provide greater incentives in order to make the recycling of MDF more attractive, are required.

 

One such option centres on a process invented by FIRA. This process, known as Micro Release, uses the application of microwave technology to recover wood fibre from waste MDF. The process has successfully demonstrated the recovery of good quality wood fibre from both laminated and non-laminated waste MDF. Further more, the process has showed that products, such as fresh board, made from recovered wood fibre as being comparable to products made from virgin wood fibre.

 

The process, currently in the developmental stage, has opened up the potential of recovered wood fibre being used in the manufacture of wood-plastic composites, insulation materials and automotive components. Therefore, the Micro Release process presents very attractive potential economic (adding value to waste MDF) and environmental (diverting waste MDF from landfill) incentives.

For further information or to receive a short video of the process:

Contact: Peter Beele
E-mail:    info@fira.co.uk