Many manufacturers are moving toward zero waste today by finding a market for their byproducts. Where do some of those byproducts go?

For years, Pennsylvania-based adhesive manufacturer L.D. Davis has been producing adhesives made from pharmaceutical companies’ gel capsule waste - the pieces left over when the gel caps are cut out - and animal processing waste. Additional ingredients are water soluble and come from renewable sources. The result is a biodegradable adhesive for bookbinding, packaging, and other applications. Adhesives are often a relatively small component of other products, so they tend to be overlooked. The folks at L.D. Davis are hoping to see adhesives considered earlier in the product design process.

While the best strategy may be to eliminate waste altogether, using waste from one industry as a feedstock for another is an important step in improving resource performance. There have been several high-profile examples from big companies like GM and Ford in the news lately, but do you know of any other, somewhat hidden applications, like these adhesives?

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