Technological watch

Effect of Bio-Based Products on Waste Management

This article focuses on the end-of-life management of bio-based products by recycling, which reduces landfilling. Bio-plastics are very important materials, due to their widespread use in various fields. The advantage of these products is that they primarily use renewable materials. At its end-of-life, a bio-based product is disposed of and becomes post-consumer waste. Correctly designing waste management systems for bio-based products is important for both the environment and utilization of these wastes as resources in a circular economy. Bioplastics are suitable for reuse, mechanical recycling, organic recycling, and energy recovery. The volume of bio-based waste produced today can be recycled alongside conventional wastes. Furthermore, using biodegradable and compostable bio-based products strengthens industrial composting (organic recycling) as a waste management option. If bio-based products can no longer be reused or recycled, it is possible to use them to produce bio-energy. For future effective management of bio-based waste, it should be determined how these products are currently being managed. Methods for valorizing bio-based products should be developed. Technologies could be introduced in conjunction with existing composting and anaerobic digestion infrastructure as parts of biorefineries. One option worth considering would be separating bio-based products from plastic waste, to maintain the effectiveness of chemical recycling of plastic waste. Composting bio-based products with biowaste is another option for organic recycling. For this option to be viable, the conditions which allow safe compost to be produced need to be determined and compost should lose its waste status in order to promote bio-based organic recycling.

Publication date: 09/03/2020

Author: Irena Wojnowska-Bary?a

Reference: doi: 10.3390/su12052088

MDPI (sustainability)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.