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Board from recycled plastics could cut plywood wastage

Wastage of plywood by the construction industry could be significantly reduced by switching to a substitute made from recycled plastics, a UK manufacturer has claimed.

2K Manufacturing has set up a plant in Luton, north of London, to produce EcoSheet, a replacement for plywood which it claimed could save in excess of 30,000 tonnes of waste to landfill each year.

Company founder Omer Kutluoglu estimated that in the UK construction industry, over 25 million plywood sheets are used annually which are not recyclable and have to be landfilled. He said that the factory could produce EcoSheet from a variety of co-mingled polymer waste streams, including construction, household and industrial. It can be used for hoardings, formwork and signage, among other things. 

He said that the material is itself recyclable, and is already being used by some of the UK’s biggest construction companies including Bovis Lend Lease, Apollo Group, ISG Pearce, Morgan Sindall and Wates. The material, which is made using a new powder impression moulding (PIM) process and has a foamed core, can be cut, handled and used much as plywood, yet is rain-proof and needs no painting.

The new factory was set up with the help of a £500,000 grant from the East of England Development Association (EEDA), and the PIM process has been licensed from UK-based technology company Environmental Recycling Technologies.

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