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Achieving sustainable biomaterials by maximising waste recovery.

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Publication details

JournalWaste Management
DatePublished - Jun 2013
Issue number6
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)1499-1508
Original languageEnglish


The waste hierarchy of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle, recover’ can be followed to improve the sustainability of a product, yet it is not applied in any meaningful way in the biomaterials industry which focuses more on sustainable sourcing of inputs. This paper presents the results of industry interviews and a focus group with experts to understand how waste recovery of biomaterials could become more widespread. Interview findings were used to develop three scenarios: (1) do nothing; (2) develop legislation; and (3) develop certification standards. These scenarios formed the basis for discussions at an expert focus group. Experts considered that action was required, rejecting the first scenario. No preference was apparent for scenarios (2) and (3). Experts agreed that there should be collaboration on collection logistics, promotion of demand through choice editing, product ‘purity’ could be championed though certification and there should be significant investment and research into recovery technologies. These considerations were incorporated into the development of a model for policy makers and industry to help increase biomaterial waste recovery.

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