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Question submitted on 10/24/13

At Orbus (in the Chicago area) we use mdf board to make products. We have been throwing the cutoff pieces in the garbage which eventually goes to a landfill. Are there any local companies that recycle medium-density fibreboard?


Some Habitat for Humanity ReStores take particle board, MDF, and other wood scraps that are in rectangular sheet form. They would be willing to send a truck to Orbus to pick up scrap material, but only if it was cut into rectangular sheets. From the picture you sent, it looks like you'd have to cut down all your scrap materials so that the cut-out sections were removed, leaving only square/rectangular sections.

Another option is to send the scrap to Chip Energy Facility (Goodfield, IL). This solution would not be viable until later in 2014. Chip energy is a pelletizer of wood/combustible material. The fuel pellets they produce are used in combustion plants to produce electricity. Paul Wever, from Chip Energy, confirmed that MDF/particle board will be a material they can accept once their facility is up and running in late 2014. A key barrier to this solution would be the cost of shipping the material, but Chip may have pick up routes or other solutions to this once the facility is operational.

Finally, your company could implement Lean Manufacturing measure(s) to reduce the amount of scrap material produced.The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) offers training and assistance in lean manufacturing techniques. You may have already looked at these type of options, but IMEC would be able to send someone out to help you consider scrap-reduction techniques you may not have considered.

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