Joint products are intentionally created when one process produces more than one item for sale. Byproducts are created more or less by accident in the process of creating another substance. Though some use can often be found for certain byproducts, joint products are much more valuable. Byproducts are often a significant expense as they must be disposed of in some way. Most major pollution is the result of byproducts from industrial processes and manufacturing.
One of the benefits of a process that creates joint products is that much of the expense for the creation of each product can be combined to reduce costs. Common costs are less than they would be if each product had to be produced separately. Usually there will be a split-off point for each product, after which their costs become separate. Joint production is a way to increase the general efficiency of manufacturing.
Joint production is very common in the food industry where one agricultural product can be used to make many different items. One of the problems that can occur in these cases is when one product becomes contaminated by bacteria and then due to joint production spreads the contamination through other product lines. For this reason there are generally very specific regulations on how joint production is managed in the food industry of different countries.
Perhaps the most notable byproduct in today's world is the carbon dioxide that is created from burning fossil fuels for energy, which is not an intentional product of production and has no economic use. Today many experts are working on ways to eliminate this particular byproduct. Chemical byproducts have been a major issue as they have often led to the pollution of natural waterways. Today there are strict regulations on disposing of most byproducts.
In an effort to reduce costs as well as to better deal with pollution, many manufacturers have sought to find markets for particular byproducts. Many food byproducts have been explored as sources of fuel and packaging. The older the product is, the more uses that have generally been found for its various byproducts. Oil refiners, for instance, have found commercial uses for all of the products of fuel manufacturing, selling products such as asphalt.
- Oregon State University: Joint Products; Dennis Caplan; 2007
- "Food Policy"; Joint Product Management Strategies for E. Coli O157 and Feedlot Profits; William Perry, et al.; 2007
- Texas Wesleyan University: Thomas Tolleson; Cost Allocation- Joint Products and Byproducts
- "Telegraph"; Whisky By-Product Cleans Contaminated Water; Paul Eccleston; March 2008
- "The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics"; Price Elasticities, Joint Products, and International Trade; Nicholas Piggott and Michael Wohlgenant; 2002
- "New York Times"; Pollution Is Called a Byproduct of a ‘Clean’ Fuel; Brenda Goodman; March 2008
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images