Recovered wood is a combination of post-industrial waste (waste streams of the timber industry and low-grade timber from sustainable forest management and roadside maintenance) with post-consumer recycled wood. Depending on panel type – MDF, HDF or chipboard – the ratio between post-industrial and post-consumer waste is altered to provide the necessary integrity, quality and long-term performance. For example, chipboard panels are made from 90 per cent post-consumer waste, while MDF and HDF panels only use post-industrial wood for consistent high-quality fibreboards.
Thanks to its continued investment in recycling technology and the world’s most advanced sorting and cleaning processes, UNILIN is leading the world in recycling post-consumer wood from a wide variety of sources. Harnessing a range of scanning and separation processes ensures that as much waste wood as possible is used in the production of chipboard. The company is also beginning its journey to reclaiming the wood fibres from HDF and MDF in a viable way for reuse in the production of high-quality fibreboards.
Production capacity will gradually be increased to allow the recycling of externally sourced fibreboards and laminate floors with the goal to replace at least 25 per cent of raw material with recycled post-consumer fibres by 2030. This patented technology is a world-first and part of a wider investment programme in sustainable technology and initiatives, including a further €160m investment for projects over the next two years.
As it develops its recycling and sorting technology to close the loop, UNILIN Panels is also working with end users to reclaim existing decorative panels and turn them into something new. Among these end users includes Colruyt Group, a leading Belgian supermarket chain. Reclaiming old panels and shelves from its offices, UNILIN Panels undertook a sophisticated cleaning process involving a range of technologies, before turning them into new Evola chipboard panels to be used within the retailer’s offices. Inntel Hotels, was another company to follow a similar circular approach. When refurbishing its Rotterdam Centre location, Inntel Hotels turned to UNILIN Panels to take back its existing decorative panels and turn them into new furniture for the 150 guest rooms.
Any wood that can’t be used in the production of wood-based panels, is recovered into energy. Across two energy plants, UNILIN uses 360,000 tons of wood waste every year as green energy. With UNILIN, no wood is ever wasted.
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Main image credit: Unilin Panels