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Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 9477-9493; doi:10.3390/su6129477

Environmental Sustainability of the Alumina Industry in Western Europe

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture (DICAAR), University of Cagliari, via Marengo, 2, 09123 Cagliari, Italy
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Received: 16 September 2014 / Revised: 12 November 2014 / Accepted: 11 December 2014 / Published: 18 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Abstract

The implementation of European policies on environmental protection is enforcing some substantial modifications in the processing methods and technologies traditionally adopted in the alumina industry and, in particular, in the management of the alumina residue produced. The article analyses the evolution of the alumina production and the residue disposal practices in Western Europe. Some critical aspects regarding the legal implementation of the EU Directive on the landfill of waste are highlighted and discussed. With reference to the requirements established for the landfill of non-hazardous waste, a key point is represented by the possibility of reducing the deposit protection measures if the collection and treatment of leachate is not necessary. The flexibility introduced by the Directive is not incorporated into the Italian law; this fact may represent a major issue in the prospect of disposal conversion from wet to dry methods for companies operating in Italy, as it may endanger the economic sustainability of the plants’ upgrade, as well as the opportunity to attract outside investments. View Full-Text
Keywords: alumina industry; bauxite residue; disposal method; sustainability; European policies; Italian regulation alumina industry; bauxite residue; disposal method; sustainability; European policies; Italian regulation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Dentoni, V.; Grosso, B.; Massacci, G. Environmental Sustainability of the Alumina Industry in Western Europe. Sustainability 2014, 6, 9477-9493.

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