Wood plastic composites

New research aims to demonstrate whether recycled medium density fibreboard can be used in place of virgin wood flour to make wood plastic composites.


A project sponsored by the UK WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) will attempt to demonstrate whether recycled medium density fibreboard (MDF) can be used in place of virgin wood flour in the manufacture of wood plastic composites (WPCs).


The project, being conducted by Scottish based firm Impact Laboratories, will include an extensive test programme to demonstrate whether the WPCs manufactured with recycled MDF are of comparable quality to WPCs currently available in the market. Furthermore, the project will assess whether it is economically and environmentally beneficial to use recycled MDF, which would otherwise be sent to landfill or incineration.


‘Supporting the development of new processes that enable more materials to be diverted from landfill is essential. Significant amounts of waste MDF are sent to landfill every year and this project aims to show that waste MDF can be a valuable resource in the manufacture of products with a market value,’ said Gareth Boyles, manufacturing development officer at WRAP.


If the project can demonstrate that using recycled MDF is commercially attractive compared to virgin wood flour, then the demand for wood plastic composite products could be further stimulated.


Existing WPCs can be used in a wide variety of applications such as decking timber, garden furniture and for house cladding panels. The US market for WPCs is already strong and the European market is growing.