Waste biomass accumulates as a result many different types of manufacturing activity; agriculture, food and beverage manufacture, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and fuels and bio-fuels. Waste biomass is a problem with a cost but also a potential value. It makes good economic sense to try to prevent or reduce waste. If eliminating waste is not an option, its disposal to landfill sites or removal through incineration is usually seen as the simplest and lowest cost solution. However, these approaches also bear a social and environmental cost.
Attempting to re-use or recycle waste has always been considered a more costly and complex solution. However, the 21st century will witness a sea-change in this thinking as a result of:
- Significant reductions in the cost and complexity of technologies to extract valuable resources from waste.
- Tightening of environmental legislation regarding the pollution of our planet leading to ever increasing landfill disposal costs.
- The extension of business’ awareness of responsibility for the waste they generate to both their employees and to the consumers of their products.
- A growing realisation that in order to sustain our current model of consumption-based capitalism, a sustainable outcome is required for the waste we generate.
As fuel costs rise, the economics of transporting waste long distances for recycle or re-use processing will become ever more prohibitive. Pennotec therefore believes that the focus of technical innovation should be on processes to valorise waste at the point of its production.