Wielsbeke, 4th of November 2021 – If you thought that HDF, the core of Quick-Step laminate, was not recyclable, think again: Quick-Step’s innovative recycling technology proves that it is. The manufacturer is the world’s first company that can fully recycle HDF into new material. Its patented technology makes it possible to detach wood fibres from existing HDF and reuse them.
Quick-Step has been committed to producing laminate and other flooring as sustainably as possible for decades. An important aspect of this is keeping wood in circulation for as long as possible. The HDF – High Density Fibreboard, which is the fibreboard forming the core of Quick-Step laminate flooring – not only consists of 100% recovered wood, but the new technology now also makes it possible to recycle HDF.
So, what’s the difference between recovered and recycled HDF? Until now, Quick-Step has only used recovered wood in its HDF production. This wood, which comes from road maintenance, sawmills, and sustainable forestry, would otherwise be incinerated. Instead, Quick-Step reuses it. As a result, no CO2 is released into the atmosphere through incineration, and no new trees need to be felled.
In addition, Quick-Step has spent years looking for ways to go even further and give the HDF a second life. Following extensive research and development, Unilin Group – Quick-Step’s parent company – has become the world’s first manufacturer to finally achieve that objective thanks to its patented recycling technology.
For a long time, it was impossible to recycle HDF because the glue that binds the wood fibres could not be ‘filtered’ in an industrial process. Consequently, most of the fibreboards ended up in the incinerator at the end of their service life. This innovative new technology allows the HDF fibres to be moistened and loosened so that they can be reused.
“This patented technology means that the circular loop of our HDF panels, which form the core of our Quick-Step laminates, is fully closed”.
Ruben Desmet, President of Unilin Flooring: “This revolutionary development is entirely in keeping with our commitment to innovate in the area of sustainability. We’re using this patented technology to completely close the circular loop of our HDF panels. Since HDF makes up more than 90% of our product, this is a giant step that brings us closer to our goal of producing 100% recyclable laminate.That’s why we will continue to innovate, in order to develop even more sustainable flooring and to contribute to the climate targets of the Paris Agreement.”
Initially, the new recycling technology will be used and refined at Unilin Panels’ MDF and HDF production plant in Bazeilles, in France. The capacity will be extended to other plants at a later date, and materials collected externally will also be processed. Unilin Group aims to replace at least 25% of its raw material mix with recycled fibres by 2030, thus saving 380,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.