Generally, there are four main factors that make the use of natural fibres and wood in plastics attractive: (1) they enhance specific properties e.g. stiffness and thermal behaviour (2) they reduce the price of the material (3) they heavily improve the bio-based share and (4) they are better recyclable when compared to glass fibres. When compared with glass fibre, wood fibre offers a weight reduction for the composite, which can be an important factor in transport costs.
After more than 30 years of market development, in 2010 global wood-plastic composite production reached 1.5 million extruded tonnes, which would mean, with an average wood share of 50%, 750,000 tonnes of wood – which is still only a fragment of the total timber market. WPC is predominantly extruded world- wide to hollow or solid decking boards and is predominately replacing tropical wood. The oldest market can be found in North America where a few big companies make the running.
… to read more, download article in full view: “Global Trends in Wood-Plastic Composites (WPC)” (PDF)
bioplastics MAGAZINE, [04/13] Vol. 8, 2013-08.