How waste-based end-goods are perceived?
The social perception of waste-based end-use goods: integrating the consumer in the closed loop supply chain (CLSC) strategy
Firms proactively develop new sustainable supply chain practices and strategies. At the same time, research on supply chain sustainability has reached a point where new perspectives are needed to challenge and expand existing models.
In part, the circular economy leverages recycling and remanufacturing existing products. If products are not feasibly recyclable, they are classified as waste
Food waste is believed to be the primary source of bio-waste.
However, there are many barriers to full utilization of bio-waste as a resource. In order to make disposition activities feasible for a company, they have to be profitable and economically sustainable.
Furthermore, the customers’ perception and acceptance of the new waste-generated PHA material is key for its success . Despite its relevance, strategies and processes aimed toward increasing sustainability in the supply chain often neglect the consumers’
acceptance and perceptions of the products derived from circular business processes in, and rather disproportionately focus on the chemical and engineering technical aspects, or on supply-side problems, such as for instance analyses on end-of-life, end-of-use, and the organization of efficient Closed Loop Supply Chain (CLSC) systems As a consequence, consumer-facing issues such as the marketing of recovered products, their acceptance by consumers, the existence of new markets for these products and how firms can promote these markets, what strategies are best suited for this purpose, and what consumer segment should be targeted, all are severely under-represented in the literature and need to be better explored.
Indeed, there has been little work on the demand side of CLSCs addressing the role of consumers.
Thus our research contributes to research and practice by identifying and testing factors that might affect consumer acceptance of products derived from bio-waste. Its importance stems from the fact that if consumer markets are not fully understood, forces related to them become barriers, no matter how well the operational system is designed.
It is the consumer that will eventually determine the success of circular economy practices. Thus, it is crucial for the implementation of a circular economy model to understand consumers’ willingness to buy products from waste and to switch, at least in part, from using new products to using bio-waste-derived products. Based on an extensive review of the literature we have noticed that specific research on products from urban bio-waste is missing, so the aim of this research is to help fill this gap. This will be realized by exploring drivers and barriers to consumers’ awareness and acceptance of urban bio-waste products and what would drive the decision to switch from traditional product to bio-based product in several European countries.
(Contribution by Ivan Russo, UNIVR)