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Environment industries archive


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Mayco Industries Pty Ltd
Cleaner Production - Segregation of Wood Dust Waste


Located in the industrial area of a Brisbane suburb, Mayco Industries Pty Ltd (Mayco) manufactures kitchens for residential and high rise markets. Its factory is one of the largest in Queensland, producing between 35 and 55 kitchens per week, and employing 86 staff, 20 of which work on a casual basis.

Both natural timber and manufactured board are used by Mayco to manufacture kitchens. Therefore, both timber dust and manufactured board dust are generated in the manufacturing process. Dust from manufactured board cannot be reused or recycled at present, due to the presence of formaldehyde, which is a constituent of the bonding agent that is used to produce the board.

Traditionally, woodworking factories dispose of both timber dust and manufactured board dust to landfill. For Mayco, the costs associated with this disposal were quite substantial due to the large quantities of dust generated. In 1986 Mayco installed a dust extraction system that allowed it to separate the two dust streams. By segregating the timber dust from the manufactured board dust, Mayco was able to find markets to receive the timber dust, significantly reducing the amount of dust disposed to landfill and subsequently reducing disposal costs.

Process Description

The timber and manufactured board dust is extracted from the working area via a vacuum ducting system. Inlets of the extraction system are located at the stations where the wood is processed, as well as by the floor, to capture fallen wood particles. The timber and manufactured board kitchens are manufactured in separate sections of the factory. This allows for logical arrangement of the extraction system which then transports the dust to one of two cyclones. Cyclones operate under a centrifugal system which extracts the dust from the air stream. The dust is then collected and stored in hoppers. One cyclone system collects the timber dust, while the other cyclone system collects the manufactured board dust.

The dust is hauled off-site by a private contractor on a fortnightly basis. The loading facility at the hoppers and the contractor’s truck have been designed to allow the transfer of dust from the hoppers with minimal loss of dust to the atmosphere. The contractor transports the timber dust to chicken farms and horse stables. The manufactured board dust is hauled to one of BCC’s waste transfer stations for ultimate disposal to landfill.

Changes Made and Savings

Reduced Disposal Costs

Approximate savings from reduced disposal costs are $5,407 per year, as outlined below.

Saving = $ 5,407

Costs and Payback

The costs involved in establishing a dust separation and collection system could be in the low to mid $10,000’s. Costs are dependant on the size of the premises, and whether or not the system is to be retro-fitted or installed when the premises are under construction. It is expected that retro-fitting would be the more expensive of these options. Smaller premises may find the use of bag houses to be more cost effective than cyclones.

The maintenance costs of the system are low, approximately $100 per year. Direct cost savings made as a result of this project are $5,407 per year, associated with the avoidance of landfill disposal costs. Based on an estimated installation cost of $20,000, the payback period would be approximately 4 years.

Other Benefits

The installation of the dust collection systems has created a dust free workplace, which enables management to ensure compliance with workplace occupational health and safety standards.

Further Developments

Benefits from this initiative have been maintained. 

Mayco has considered extracting the formaldehyde from the composite board dust to produce fireplace briquettes by compacting the dust. However, it was determined that this process is not cost effective at this stage.

Other waste management systems were initiated in 1996-97, including a solvent recovery and recycling facility and waste paper and cardboard recycling.


Karl Butterfield
Production Manager and Environmental Officer
Mayco Industries Pty Ltd
29 Lathe St
Virginia Qld 4034
Phone: (07) 3265 3688
Fax: (07) 3865 1091
Date of implementation: 1986-
Date of further initiatives: Ongoing
Case study prepared: 1997.
Date last modified: May 2001.