Different materials need different waste treatment approaches, some are only reusable and not recyclable, others are not suitable for energy recovery but can be recycled through reprocessing.
This is the first in a series of briefings I am writing, under the theme ‘Materials Matter.’ The briefings are linked to my PhD research with Orangebox, which is based on the role of materials in design and innovation processes.
Read the full research briefing on Orangebox’s website here
This is a short article I wrote for publication in the Chartered Institute of Waste Management newsletter.
image adapted from: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/framework/index.htm
Increasing the use of recycled content in products is a vital strategy to achieve the Zero Waste targets as set out by the Welsh Government. As part of my PhD research with Orangebox, we have been looking at how businesses working in furniture design and manufacturing can do this. This research has highlighted that there is confusion across the industry regarding the differences between what it means to recycle, reuse, or treat waste through energy recovery. This misunderstanding is leading to a grouping of these categories into a single overarching ‘recyclable’ label that combines all three. More often than not, the evidence shows that reuse is better than recycling, is better than energy for waste, which is better than landfilling. Companies need to be more specific about how products and materials can be treated at the product’s End of Life.