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Furniture recycling in Germany - current state of the art and future development

: Michanickl, A.; Boehme, C.

Barrage, A.; Edelmann, X. ; Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt -EMPA-, Dübendorf/St. Gallen:
Recovery, Recycling, Re-integration. Collected Papers of the R'99 World Congress. Vol.3: Logistics - Network, Identification and Separation, Mechanical Recycling, Product Design, EcoDesign Innovation
St. Gallen: EMPA, 1999
ISBN: 3-905555-18-2
Recovery, Recycling, Re-Integration International Congress (R) <1999, Genf>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer WKI ()

Furniture recycling has become an important subject in many countries of the European Community. Especially in Germany it has been in the focus of many discussions. The Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut (WKI), is playing a major role in the development of this field of recycling. A multistage chemo-thermo-mechanical process was developed allowing the recovery of particles and fibres from old furniture and production residues at simultaneous separation of coatings, edges and other contraries. It is possible to manufacture boards from the recoverd particles and fibres without adding fresh particles or fibres featuring the same or even better properties than the initial product. That includes technical properties as well as the formaldehyde emission. Thus waste furniture and production residuals have become an interesting raw material source. In 1996 two German companies installed the developed process on industrial scale starting with a capacity of about 25.000 tons per year. These installations proved the economical and ecological feasability of the process. In the mean time the capacity of both plants was doubled to more than 50.000 tons per installation. The waste material comes from municipal waste collecting companies, companies specialised in waste wood preparation and separation, the furniture commerce and the furniture industry. Today further plants are planned. It is likely that a net of furniture recycling installations will cover Germany and the Benelux-Countries in the near future.