Wood Plastic Composite: a fully recyclable solution

The plastic pollution problem has taken the world by storm with powerful images of oceans full of floating plastic debris. The solution to save the environment, however, is not just to eliminate plastic completely, but also to create new materials. “At Bausano, we want to promote the maximum sustainability for the plastic life cycle with new ideas to recycle plastic waste and save energy consumption,” said Alfeo Bonato, Sales Manager of Bausano & Figli S.p.A, a leading extrusion line designer and producer from Italy founded in 1946. The company is tackling this problem with wood-plastic composite (WPC), utilizing the inherent characteristics of natural wood aesthetics combined with the tenacity to endure harsh outdoor conditions. This results in a long lifespan unusual for natural wood, even with regular maintenance. China: world’s second largest WPC producer Why WPC? “Construction and demolition waste is one of the largest waste sources in the EU. The EC Waste Directive 2008/98 targets a more sustainable construction industry, recovering 70% by weight of its non-hazardous construction and demolition waste by 2020. To meet this objective, new solutions must be found to achieve an efficient material recovery from demolition waste,” explained Marco Meneghello, Sales Manager of Bausano. Currently, the United States produces almost half of the total WPC global market share, with China the second largest producer in the world. “Today’s major production growth rates of WPC can be found in China’ s WPC-extrusion (25% per annum) and China’s demand for WPC is growing,” he added. Other rapidly emerging WPC markets include South East Asia, Russia, South America and India. Longer life, lower cost WPC is a family of products that encompass profiles, boards and granules. It is produced with a mixture of polymers (PVC, PE, PLA or PP) and vegetable components, mainly wood dust, but also rice husks, almond shells, etc. Cheap, resistant and versatile, it represents a new frontier in the field of building and industrial materials. The advantage of WPC is numerous. WPC can be used over large areas, is resistant to fire, moisture and mould, is smooth yet non-slip and is pleasant to walk barefoot. Thanks to these features, WPC is ideal for eco-friendly flooring, exterior cladding in private and public spaces, fencing, profiles and finishes, sunscreens, self-locking tiles, beach decking, parks and gardens, decorative items such as planters, railings, gazebos, piers and non-slip steps and countless other uses. Advanced production technology Bonato pointed out that Bausano’ s POLYWOOD is WPC composed of waste from other processes such as renewable raw materials and recovered polymers. “POLYWOOD is one of the few environmentally friendly materials with negligible environmental impact. Unlike mineral rubble that requires an expensive disposal process, WPC is 100% recyclable and can be re-transformed into a new product at low cost,” he noted. Bausano POLYWOOD technology can obtain profiles composed of wood powder up to 80%, with features that make them better than wood in terms of reliability, performance and production costs. In this context, Bausano has produced innovative extrusion lines suitable for the production of WPC granules with high-quality mechanical features, starting from renewable raw materials selected for environmental protection. They are also fully customizable and highly efficient at any production output. “Our MD Plus extruders feature ease of use and time saving on maintenance and cleaning, which are always our goals during the study and design of our granulation lines,” he stressed. Booth: 4.1L61