Aligning recycling metrics with concepts such as sustainable materials management has been a challenge. But a researcher in Florida is offering intriguing possibilities in that area.
Tim Townsend is an environmental engineer and professor at the University of Florida who has extensively studied waste-related issues over the past decade.
His current work taps right into a key question among forward-looking materials recovery professionals: How do we move away from focusing solely on tons recovered and measure the wider environmental benefits that come through considering the entire life cycle of the materials we use?
The answer, Townsend proposes, may be to stick with the tried and true concept of a recycling rate but to calculate such a figure in a new way.