FORESDA - Bark should replace plastic as packaging material


The two founders of Barkinsulation produce wine and beer cooler from tree bark. The waste of the wood industry should become an important raw material. The idea is astonishingly simple: Bark protects the cambium/the wood cells from heat and frost. The bark not only isolates, but it also repels harmful environmental conditions and protects the tree from injury. Why should not this principle be used industrially? Even more, if the renewable resource is abundant? Every year, around 1.6 million cubic meters of bark is produced in Austria alone as a waste product in the wood industry. 

The two graduates of the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Bernhard Lienbacher and Marco-Claudius Morandini, set out to experiment with the material bark. They developed a method by which the bark can be made into a solid, workable material.

The process sounds relatively simple: The dried bark is crushed, sieved and then mixed with an industrial binding agent in a mixing machine. The material is then fed into a self-designed press and at the end, tubular continuous blanks emerge from the bark. It is almost a pure natural product, and the maximum amount of glue is between two and three percent. The used material is from the Austrian larch. The larch bark has a very high number of cork cells, which is important for the stability of the product. 

In addition, during the next product development phases of the two researchers, the tree bark will be used to test the possibilities for replacing of plastic as a packaging material. 

Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)