A North Wales company that is developing a world-first technology to recycle MDF waste has received new funding of £165,000 from a group of angels who have previously backed the business.

MDF Recovery is nearing commercialisation having successfully concluded proof of concept trials to develop a commercially viable process to recover wood fibre from used or off-cuts of MDF. The process offers the first ever alternative to landfilling or incineration of MDF and offers a closed loop recycling opportunity for the wood panel sector. 

The company, based on Anglesey, has previously attracted funding from SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK and Innovate UK.

Craig Bartlett, managing director of MDF Recovery, has also brought on board two non-executive directors, Henry Dixon and Steve Harvey.

Henry is a highly experienced branding and communications specialist who built up the multi-award winning marketing agency, Barrett Dixon Bell.

Steve is group chairman of leading North West law firm Hillyer McKeown and an experienced corporate and commercial lawyer.

Craig says: “The new funding and the appointment of Henry and Steve come at an important stage in MDF Recovery’s journey. Our innovative technology has attracted the interest of various parties including the manufacturers of MDF materials and MDF equipment as well as other engineering companies. 

“As we gear up for the accelerated growth of the business, it is important we have the best team in place to ensure we achieve our commercial objectives. Henry and Steve have important skills which will be invaluable as we move forward.”

MDF as a material was first introduced in the 1970s and today more than 75 million tonnes are produced globally every year, servicing the furniture, construction and DIY markets. 

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.

MDF Recovery’s solution generates a new secondary material source for the wood/natural fibre industry that displaces the need for new virgin materials and comes at a time when demand for virgin timber from many other sources is growing.

The company has a pilot plant which is currently being used to optimise the process and host demonstrations for industrial end users.

Before establishing MDF Recovery in 2009, Craig worked as Head of Research & Consultancy at the UK Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA), developing a wide range of technological solutions in partnership with industry and academia.

MDF Recovery has an Advisory Panel which includes Geoff Rhodes, a former President of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), the European Association of MDF Manufacturers (EMB) and the Fibre Building Board Federation (FIDOR).

Other panel members include Dr Knut Kappenberg, a former Global R&D Manager at Sonae Industria, one of the largest global manufacturers of wood-based panel products, Dr Rob Elias, Director of the BioComposites Centre (BC) at Bangor University, Jonathan Grant, CEO of W Howard, the largest manufacturer of MDF mouldings in Europe, and experienced CEO and business advisor Ray Howard.