Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Winston A. Knight


What should the manufacturer or consumer do with their products at the end of their usable life? Providing economically and environmentally acceptable answers to this waste management question is becoming an important decision factor among product manufacturers in their choice of materials. The objective of this research was to help guide manufacturers to those answers through the investigation of how material selection affects the alternatives for what can be done with a product at the end of its usable life.

A classification system was developed to identify the preferred end-of-life destinations for the assembly components of a product based on their material content. The end purpose of this system is to assist in the recommendation of which materials should be separated from each other for optimum reprocessing or disposal. It will also assist in the selection of part materials during product design by helping to consider their future disposal after the completion of their intended use. This research also investigated, in depth, the end-of-life opportunities for the reuse of recycled plastics in manufacturing.