We’re proud of the bioplastic that we developed in-house a few years ago. That’s because it has a very special property: it combines the advantages of wood and plastic in one material.
WPC is environmentally friendly
We manufacture our bioplastic from very special wood fibres. We mix these with plastic to obtain wood plastic composite, also called WPC. It is a biocomposite that can be processed to produce many articles. Our WPC contains at least 50% wood fibres, and some types contain even more. Thanks to the wood fibres, WPC is more environmentally friendly than pure plastic, because every gramme of wood replaces a gramme of plastic. This not only saves on crude oil, it reduces the amount of greenhouse gas and plastic waste produced.
WPC is more stable than pure plastic
WPC not only consists of wood and plastic, it also combines the advantages of wood and plastic. This means that the bioplastic is even better suited to some applications: better than wood and even better than plastic. For example, our polyethylene-based WPC is more stable than pure polyethylene. The reason for this is that, although the wood fibres are tiny, they have very similar properties to wood. As a result, the compound of plastic and wood is less sensitive than pure plastic to mechanical stresses such as pressure or traction. The wood fibres render the bioplastic tougher and more resistant. Many plastics become “soft” in the presence of heat, for instance. Garden chairs made from WPC, on the other hand, remain sturdy even when the temperature hits the heights.
WPC can be shaped three-dimensionally
In contrast to wood, WPC can be shaped three-dimensionally. Our bioplastic can be used both in extrusion processes and in injection moulding. In extrusion, WPC is pressed through a nozzle as a viscous mass. This creates long, shaped sections that can be processed to produce window profiles or decking boards. In injection moulding, WPC granulate is liquefied and pressed in a closed mould, creating practically any three-dimensional shape: bowls, computer housings, centre consoles for cars, piggy banks, play figurines, telephone casings, loudspeaker boxes and many more.
WPC is more durable than wood
Wood is a wonderful material, but unfortunately not ideally suitable for everything. It is very vulnerable to moisture and temperature variations. Daylight, fungal attack and bacteria all play their part in weathering. Decking boards and patio furniture made from European wood soon fall prey to these when exposed to rain and heat. To protect them against external influences, they need to be treated regularly with varnish or oil.
Although we process spruce and pine fibres for our WPC, the plastic content makes the WPC far less susceptible to moisture and temperature variations than untreated wood. Our WPC doesn’t need to be treated with varnish or oil even when used outside, provided that it is mounted on a substructure and has no direct contact with the earth. Our bioplastic is then far sturdier than wood with regard to the effects of the weather. It retains its colour and looks good even after a lengthy period. Of course, there are considerable variations in quality depending on the manufacturer. But decking boards made from WPC from JELU are durable and weather-resistant outdoors.