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Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1603; doi:10.3390/su9091603

Resource Recovery from Waste: Restoring the Balance between Resource Scarcity and Waste Overload

Resource Recovery from Waste Programme, School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
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Received: 13 July 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 1 September 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Waste, Space, and Place)
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Abstract

Current societal patterns of production and consumption drive a twin environmental crisis of resource scarcity and waste overload. Positioning waste and resource management in the context of ecosystem stewardship, this article relates increasing resource demand and waste production to the violation of planetary boundaries and human rights. We argue that a transition towards a circular economy (CE) that contributes to a resilient environment and human well-being is necessary to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The transition requires scientific and technological progress, including the development of low-energy biogeochemical technologies for resource recovery, and multi-dimensional value assessment tools integrating environmental, social, and economic factors. While the urgency to adopt a CE is well-recognised, progress has been slow. Coordinated change is required from multiple actors across society. Academia can contribute through participatory action research. This article concludes with the participation strategy of the Resource Recovery from Waste programme, aiming for changes in mentality, industry practices, and policies and regulations in the waste and resource management landscape in the UK. View Full-Text
Keywords: waste and resource management; ecosystem stewardship; planetary boundaries; human rights; UN Sustainable Development Goals; sustainable production and consumption; circular economy; participation processes; stakeholder engagement; transdisciplinary research waste and resource management; ecosystem stewardship; planetary boundaries; human rights; UN Sustainable Development Goals; sustainable production and consumption; circular economy; participation processes; stakeholder engagement; transdisciplinary research
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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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Velenturf, A.P.M.; Purnell, P. Resource Recovery from Waste: Restoring the Balance between Resource Scarcity and Waste Overload. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1603.

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