Feasibility of the use of poultry waste as polymer additives and implications for energy, cost and carbon

Thomas McGauran, Beatrice Smyth, Nicholas Dunne, Eoin Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increased poultry production worldwide has led to higher generation of poultry waste materials. To date, these materials have limited uses and often end up in landfill. Research has begun to investigate new applications for these waste materials, particularly as fillers and functional additives with a range of polymers. With oil supplies diminishing, use of an otherwise waste material to mitigate depletion rates represents a solution that will positively impact two global industries. This paper presents a technoeconomic analysis to determine the feasibility of using three abundant poultry waste materials, bone, meal and feathers, within the polymer industry, quantifying the energy, cost and carbon implications compared to conventional polymers and the potential oil savings compared to use as a bioenergy resource. Given the complexity of such an approach the assumptions involved have been detailed.
Concurrently, compositional analysis yielded a detailed breakdown of each material (minerals and organic content), which was used to determine their potential as fillers in polymer processing. Calculations concluded that use as a polymer filler, in loadings up to 40% wt. for bone and meal and 60% wt. for feathers, provided high energy, carbon and cost savings to both the polymer and poultry industries. Crude oil savings were 5 times higher than use as a bioenergy source, showing the potential of poultry waste streams as polymer additives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number125948
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue number125948
Early online date12 Jan 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 12 Jan 2021


  • Poultry
  • Waste
  • Energy
  • Polymer
  • Valorization

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Feasibility of the use of poultry waste as polymer additives and implications for energy, cost and carbon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this