A U.K. technology developer has developed a world-first technology to recycle MDF waste – and recover wood fiber from it.

With research and development spanning six years, MDF Recovery recently concluded trials to develop a commercially viable process to recover wood fiber from used or off-cuts of MDF – offering what it says is the first-ever alternative to landfilling MDF.

MDF Recovery’s innovative processing technology is a patented process that produces wood fibers in the range of 0.5mm – 3mm; the same quality as virgin wood fiber.

“The recovered fiber produced by the process is of the same high quality as fiber obtained from virgin wood and can be used as a direct substitute in the manufacturing process,” said Craig Bartlett, co-founder and managing director of MDF Recovery. “The MDF Recovery technology can be retrofitted or designed into new plants and offers a robust solution for reworking waste and increasing the yield at the MDF manufacturing facility.”

A £250,000 ($312,000) investment from Suez Recycling and Recovery, a leading recycling and resource management organization, will allow MDF Recovery to take their technology to the next level: the commercial market.

“The Suez investment provides a significant boost to MDF Recovery in our quest to commercialize the technology to make single-use MDF a thing of the past,” says Bartlett.

The company says the fibers meet the technical specification for re-integration into MDF manufacture and can be supplied in commercially-relevant volumes.  They can be introduced into production lines operating traditional resination processes or those that utilize dry blending technology.

“Our process does not use chemicals and is more cost-efficient, energy-saving and environmentally-friendly than landfill or burning – the current options for the disposal of waste MDF.”

A full-scale plant could supply up to 5 tons of fibers per hour on a continuous basis. Bartlett estimates the process could recycle between 30,000 to 60,000 tons of MDF waste in the U.K. each year, almost 3 million tons globally.

MFDC Recovery says principal markets for MDF include the UK, Continental Europe, USA, Russia, Brazil and China. Demand for MDF products is increasing in Eastern Europe and Asia.

In addition to SUEZ and Innovate UK funding, the business is also backed by a group of angel investors.

Learn more about the MDF Recovery process here.