Furniture manufacturing is one of the primary and oldest industrial activities, and thanks to technological advances, the manufacturing system has evolved over time. Internationally, 77% of furniture production is concentrated within 10 countries. And Brazil is the 6th-largest producer of furniture in this case. However, the primary raw materials are wood panels and solid wood. This generates large wood waste (WW) from the cutting and sanding process.
Over time, adequate wood waste management from the furniture industry has become an essential issue. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is mostly used to identify environmental gains in WW management strategies. Thus, researchers developed a study aiming to perform a comparative LCA. They decided to analyze the environmental aspects and various impacts of different scenarios in WW management generated in the furniture industry in Brazil, Espirito Santo.
Circular Economy And Wood Waste Management
The Brazilian wood furniture industry alone represents 80% of the furniture production units in the region. As per 2022 reports, 17,900 industries produced 372 million pieces of furniture in Brazil. Approximately 30 million tonnes of wood waste is generated per year. Therefore, adequate WW management has become an essential goal.
The circular economy (CE) is an evolved economic model describing practices where waste is avoided by planning its return to the original production sources. Or, at times, it is directed toward newly built production cycles capable of recovering its value.
This process provides various options for recycling and reusing materials. In this context, industrial symbiosis offers a steady connection between different production units, within which the waste generated from one unit is adopted as a raw material by another unit.
The Study On Waste Wood Management
In the study by Cárcamo and Panãbaena-Niebles, the country – Brazil stood out as the leader in the number of research projects, which is significant for an emerging economy. The team took five WW management scenarios under concentration: MDP (Medium Density Particle Board) production, MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) production, heat production in the ceramics industry, solid ceramic brick production, and landfill disposal.
The MDF strategy offered the most environmental benefits among all the evaluated impact categories. However, the surveys also highlighted that most furniture companies are careless while separating their waste! That puts the entire system in quite a dicey situation – and here is why.
- The waste comes with hazardous elements, and it will take much more cost, time, and human inputs for the other companies to treat and gain something essential from the same.
- Also, most industries are unaware of such sources of waste. So, the researchers suggest that there is a need for more people to spread awareness regarding wood waste management availability along with demand and supply mitigation.
- New platforms should be made to share data between industries so that one company can directly order and discuss their future needs. Or the other company can easily advertise how much wood waste they have available.
Also, the team suggests that more government invention is needed to develop policies and fixed retail rates.
Aim Of The Study
This study is intended to provide a broad analysis of different alternatives for mitigating environmental impacts. Also, it offers possible and efficient solutions for monitoring WW. The scenarios were developed by detecting pre-existing synergies and bringing multiple local industries together. The aim is to build a network of value for the stakeholders.
Finally, the researchers also hoped that the analyses carried out within the study would interest industries in Brazil and surrounding. Affecting all the entities connected to the furniture sector along with public policymakers. These authorities can help with decision-making processes regarding WW management, especially at a regional scale. Moreover, the scenarios described in this study show possible ways to use WW as a raw material to manufacture new products. Thus diminishing the demand for virgin sources and enhancing environmental gains.
Summing up, the study highlights how the circular economy offers proper wood waste management. Thus bringing down the percentage of environmental hazards and problems with waste disposal in Brazil and areas around the place.