Industrial waste makes plywood glue affordable
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - October 31, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — A private firm has agreed to test a newly formulated plywood glue that uses waste products such as spent tea leaves and tobacco dust, according to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The DOST Forest Products Research and Development Institute has recently signed a partnership with Mindanao-based Impasug-ong Integrated Wood Processing and Plywood Manufacturing Inc. for the trial testing of the glue mixtures.

Juanito Jimenez Jr., who led the development of the glue mixture, said the trial run would determine the effectiveness of the adhesive when used in a full-sized panel. 

It will also help establish how much a plywood company can save once the glue mixture using waste products is used in their production.

“We will test if the plywood produced will pass national and global standards for shear strength, formaldehyde emission and termite resistance. Formaldehyde is a chemical compound found to cause certain types of cancer in humans,” he said.

During the pilot run, the company will produce full-sized panels of plywood using the mixture.

The DOST said earlier studies conducted by Jimenez and researchers Erlinda Mari and Rebecca Lapuz showed that spent tea leaves and tobacco stalks are affordable and environment-friendly extenders and fillers to plywood adhesive, replacing the commonly used wheat and rice hull flour.

 “Fillers are used to cover up holes and cracks on the veneer surface, improving its strength and durability. Extenders, on the other hand, are substances mixed with the glue to reduce the amount of primary binder used,” Jimenez said.

Spent tea leaves, which are generated as an industrial waste by the tea-flavored drinks industry, were tested to have successfully trapped excess formaldehyde gases from plywood, resulting in safer panels.

Meanwhile, tobacco stalks were found to be successful in lessening formaldehyde emissions and in repelling termites.

The National Tobacco Authority estimates that the country’s tobacco waste is around 45 million kilos every year, the DOST said.

Jimenez said they are positive that their research will be able to create productive uses for the waste products.

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