The furniture industry needs better recycling strategies

Particleboard is an important material in furniture construction. However, increased competition for the raw material has made it necessary for the manufacturers to find new strategies for producing
high-quality products at good value. The key is recycling. This is argued in a new doctoral thesis from Linnaeus University.

Johan Trischler is active within the subject of forestry and wood technology and is also part of Linnaeus University's strategic collaboration with IKEA – The Bridge. In his doctoral thesis he has investigated what can be done in order to avoid a shortage of the raw materials used for the production of particleboard.

"Particleboard has long been an important and cost-worthy material for the furniture industry. However, in the last few years, more interested parties, like the pulp and paper industry and the thermal energy recovery industry, have started competing for the same raw material. This has resulted in a decrease in the supply and higher prices", Johan Trischler explains.

In order to be able to guarantee an increased production and in order to be able to produce furniture that people can afford, it is important to find long-term strategies. Johan Trischler's study shows us that the most promising solution is recycling – to review the entire life cycle of the wooden product and to design products in a way that ensures they can be reutilised in new ways.

"That is to say, it is important that furniture manufacturers start planning how furniture can be given new life once they have served their purpose. The furniture industry still has no long-term plan for recycling. In a number of other industries, for instance the auto industry, it is planned early on in the process how the different parts can be recycled when that time comes. This is something at which the furniture industry can become better", says Johan Trischler.

Johan Trischler has also looked into whether it is possible to produce good and cheap board material using other raw materials than the ones used today.

Today, particleboard is usually produced from coniferous trees like spruce and pine. The glue that is used often contains a number of non-degradable substances. Attempts have been made to produce particleboard using alternative materials like, for instance, other kinds of wood, straw, and biodegradable glue. However, these products are still flawed.

"These boards have less good surface quality and are more expensive to produce and, therefore, today not a satisfactory alternative", says Johan Trischler.

The study is presented in the doctoral theses: Strategic raw material supply for the particleboard-producing industry in Europe.


Johann Trischler, +46 (0)76-779 49 19,

Ylva Dandanell, Programme Director for The Bridge. Answers questions about the strategic collaboration between Linnaeus University and IKEA.
070-514 62 72,

Josefin Fägerås, communications officer, 072-528 14 30,