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Assessing the Sustainability of Natural Composite Materials

31 October 2008

NetComposites and BRE are leading a project to assess the environmental credentials of naturally derived composite materials.

The BioCompass project will address the problem faced by the construction industry in that there is limited understanding of the environmental performance of these relatively new materials, making like for like comparisons difficult. The work is being undertaken under a UK LINK collaborative research project funded through the DEFRA renewable materials programme.

The project will focus on environmental issues such as:

▪ Raw material supply – including crop production and land-use
▪ Energy requirements for primary and secondary processing
▪ Durability of these naturally derived materials compared to conventional alternatives
▪ End of life issues – including, recyclability, composting, recovery and re-use.

The project team, comprising experts from the end-users, processors and natural materials suppliers, will produce information, guidance and tools that are crucial for the environmental understanding of these materials and their comparison to conventional alternatives.

This will enable companies throughout the industry to make well-informed decisions about the likely benefits of crop-based materials without the cost and time requirements of conducting detailed life-cycle impact studies. It will also allow the industry to deal with clients on a more informed basis, further stimulating the growth of materials derived from crops.

This project is sponsored by Defra through the Renewable Materials LINK programme.





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