Starch-based MDF offers a greener future for retail design
Working in conjunction with The University of Leicester, retail design agency Sheridan & Co has helped implement the new material into retail display units, giving a glimpse into a greener future for in-store designers.
Currently MDF contains a toxic resin and must be incinerated or moved to landfill sites at the end of its life cycle. The new material has been developed using natural starch, such as potatoes, to bind it together. This allows for the entire product to be recycled for future use as well as being fully biodegradable.
Michael Sheridan, founder and chairman of Sheridan & Co, said: “Over 12 million cubic metres of MDF was used in Europe through 2011. We are looking to encourage high profile brands to make the switch to a new product that is not only more environmentally friendly, but also cheaper.
“We have had a relationship with The University of Leicester for over 10 years now. This has involved providing work experience for graduates and more recently, the development of the MDF replacement.
“This could be a game changer for the retail industry. More and more brands are becoming environmentally aware, and now this new form of MDF will allow the units that their products sit on to also be better for the planet.”
Professor Andrew Abbott from The University of Leicester added: “We are really excited at the results to date for these environmentally sustainable MDF alternatives. The partnership with Sheridan&Co has helped us to design products with suitable properties and find markets which suit the new materials.”
Professor Abbot has been awarded the Royal Society Brian Mercer Award for Innovation 2013 for his work on the new MDF material. The prize includes a fund of £172,347 that will allow the project to move from prototype to product in 2014.
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