Product Feature: Ecological Birch Plywood

Latvian Birch plywood is one of the most important timber-based materials from an environmental and performance perspective.

This versatile material has been produced for over 110 years in Latvia, and during this time it has been subject to continuous technological development and innovation. This has enabled the product to be utilised globally for many demanding applications such as specialist concrete formwork, train and vehicle flooring, multi-tiered seating systems (used at the 2012 Olympic Games), wind-turbine blades and even LNG-ship insulation boxes.

DHH are now able to supply an even ‘greener’ Birch Plywood from Riga Wood in Latvia, as they are able to offer an innovative, more eco-friendly adhesive for plywood that utilises lignin, the naturally occurring strengthening substance found in timber and other plants.

Wood contains around 20-30% Lignin, and this polymeric substance is also a ‘by-product’ from modern chemical pulp-production. There is a three-stage process (see below) that allows manufacturers to transform this naturally-occurring lignin into a resin that can be used as an adhesive for bonding birch plywood.

Prior to this, the industrially produced Lignin would have been used as boiler-fuel to produce energy, but these new developments mean this valuable raw material can now be utilised in a more productive and ecological way.

There are many benefits to using a more natural material for adhesive production, as it helps offer a more greener solution. Natural adhesives are less dependent on fossil chemical derivatives, and this helps reduce the carbon footprint of any wood product that uses them.

Lignin is also sustainable, can be recycled, and when used as a plywood adhesive it will help reduce emissions of VOC’s and formaldehyde – which is an important factor for improving the environmental performance. Riga’s future aim is to eventually use a ‘lignin-derived’ adhesive for all birch plywood production; and DHH now can supply standard birch plywood from stock that is bonded with ‘Riga-Ecological’ adhesive.

*Steph Plaster is one of our resident Technical Plywood Experts; and has a wealth of experience and knowledge around using Plywood for advanced applications.