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Circular Economy in the Biomaterials Sector: Concepts for the Wood Products Industry
thesisposted on 28.04.2021, 23:21 by Kendria L Huff
The concept of the Circular Economy (CE) is proposed as a viable solution to the over-exploitation of natural resources with an economic and environmental backing. Although more commonly used in the context of non-renewable industrial materials and processes, there is a growing need to include these concepts into renewable materials that have technical functions. This thesis will discuss the concepts of CE in the context of the wooden furniture sector and how the inclusion of Value Retention Processes (VRPs) and other CE practices result in quantifiable environmental and economic benefits. Companies that are involved in these VRPs are consulted through a questionnaire. This is to better understand the process and limits of their implementations. The issue of furniture waste is highlighted to demonstrate the need for circularity in this industry and how it fits within the context of CE. A case study is conducted utilizing three comparable furniture products to populate the data needed to utilize an established CE model showcasing their quantifiable benefits (IRP, 2018). This research will lead to a basis for continued research, improvements to current CE models, and suggestions for best practices that can be implemented by industry stakeholders and consumers. The results of the company questionnaire showcase that a viable VRP market exists for the wooden furniture industry, with “Reuse” being the most utilized by consumers. The outputs of the CE model revealed that the inclusion of VRPs results in significant decreases in environmental impacts when compared with new product manufacturing.