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Resources, Volume 6, Issue 4 (December 2017)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Emerging vehicle technologies, including electric drives and new materials such as Aluminum-Cerium [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Understanding Human Actions and Institutional Change: What Are the Impacts of Power Asymmetries on Efficiency in Pasture Use?
Received: 18 September 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 December 2017 / Published: 14 December 2017
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Abstract
The paper investigates actions and decisions of agricultural resource users and explores their implications for institutional change and natural resource management in the post-socialist context of Central Asia. More specifically, the authors propose a novel methodological approach for the aforementioned context to support
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The paper investigates actions and decisions of agricultural resource users and explores their implications for institutional change and natural resource management in the post-socialist context of Central Asia. More specifically, the authors propose a novel methodological approach for the aforementioned context to support policy-relevant research that explicitly addresses behavioral responses of pastoralists in Kyrgyzstan. The paper builds on distributive and economic theories of institutional change and combines findings from lab and field framed economic experiments with complementary qualitative methods (questionnaires, group discussions and semi-structured interviews). By these means the authors test the impact of a specific variable on institutional change in pasture use: the role of power and specifically the difference in the ability of players to “survive” in a bargaining game without an agreement. The impact of power asymmetries and its implications for cooperation and the efficiency of bargaining outcomes are discussed and analyzed. Experimental results largely confirm findings reported in the literature: as players learn about the game and the behavior of others, they adjust their decisions accordingly; the subjects also exhibit other-regarding preferences, resulting to the prevalence of relatively equally distributed gains as an outcome. Furthermore, the findings of the study suggest that under the condition of incomplete information about the preferences of other players, the experimental subjects internalize the game as a group. The authors propose that an explanatory variable for such situations might be that actual shared beliefs of pasture users assist players to economize on information processing and coordinate the bargaining in an effective way. From this perspective, the paper raises a series of questions regarding the proposition that power asymmetry leads to inefficient bargaining outcomes, and provides some first insights for further investigation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Barriers and Motivations for Construction Waste Reduction Practices in Costa Rica
Received: 26 September 2017 / Revised: 24 November 2017 / Accepted: 27 November 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
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Abstract
Low- and middle-income countries lag behind in research that is related to the construction industry and the waste problems that the sector is facing. Literature shows that waste reduction and recycling have received a continuous interest from researchers, but mainly from developed countries.
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Low- and middle-income countries lag behind in research that is related to the construction industry and the waste problems that the sector is facing. Literature shows that waste reduction and recycling have received a continuous interest from researchers, but mainly from developed countries. Few reports from low- and middle-income countries are concerned about the reuse of masonry, concrete, and mortar in clay based building ceramics or recycling construction waste, but mostly in relation to concrete aggregates. Furthermore, few authors have described the major barriers and motivations for construction waste reduction. The objective of this paper is to report the findings on a research performed in Costa Rica with the objective to determine the barriers and motivations that the construction sector is facing to improve the management of the construction materials. The study is based on data collected in two phases. During the first phase, a survey was sent via e-mail to 419 main contractors registered at the School Federation of Engineers and Architects (CFIA). The second phase consisted of a focus group discussion with 49 professionals from the construction industry to analyse and validate the findings from the survey. Descriptive statistic methods helped to draw the conclusions. The result of the research is a comprehensive list of observed barriers and motivations for waste reduction practices in the construction sector. These are not only applicable to Costa Rica, but can be used as a guide for similar studies in other low- and middle-income countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Waste Municipal Service and Informal Recycling Sector in Fast-Growing Asian Cities: Co-Existence, Opposition or Integration?
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 29 November 2017 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published: 11 December 2017
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Abstract
Despite being generally poorly recognized by public authorities, informal recycling remains nevertheless a major component in the waste sector, which questions the legitimacy of the official waste arrangements. A look at the current transformation in Hanoi (Vietnam), Delhi (India) and Surabaya (Indonesia) allows
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Despite being generally poorly recognized by public authorities, informal recycling remains nevertheless a major component in the waste sector, which questions the legitimacy of the official waste arrangements. A look at the current transformation in Hanoi (Vietnam), Delhi (India) and Surabaya (Indonesia) allows us to understand the socio-technical aspects of infrastructural choices in the management of waste generated in fast-growing Asian cities. The three cases present similar traditional recycling practices yet contrasted (non-) regulation within their waste policies. From the co-existence of a municipal waste management service with a traditional informal recycling sector, to an opposition between both, there is also a possibility of making use of the existing local practices to achieve a more sustainable system. Full article
Open AccessArticle Dematerialization—A Disputable Strategy for Resource Conservation Put under Scrutiny
Received: 5 October 2017 / Revised: 16 November 2017 / Accepted: 24 November 2017 / Published: 4 December 2017
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Abstract
Dematerialization is a paradigm in resource conservation strategies. Material use should be reduced so that resource consumption as a whole can be lowered. The benefit for humankind should be completely decoupled from the natural expenditure by a definite factor X. Instinctively, this approach
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Dematerialization is a paradigm in resource conservation strategies. Material use should be reduced so that resource consumption as a whole can be lowered. The benefit for humankind should be completely decoupled from the natural expenditure by a definite factor X. Instinctively, this approach is convincing, because our entire value-added chain is based on material transformation. Targets for mass-based indicators are found within the context of justification for ecological carrying capacity and intergenerational fairness, taking into account the economic and socio-political expectation of raw material scarcity. However, in light of further development of material flow indicators and the related dematerialization targets, the question arises as to what they actually stand for and what significance they have for resource conservation. Can it be assumed that pressure on the environment will decline steadily if the use of materials is reduced, whether for an economy or at the level of individual products or processes? The present narrative review paper has discussed this issue and takes into account the authors’ experience of the extended political and scientific discourse on dematerialization in Germany and Europe. As a result, a high “resource relevance” cannot be inferred from high physical material inputs at any of the levels considered. It has been shown that establishing mass-based indicators as control and target variables is questionable and that dematerialization exclusively based on such indicators without mapping other resources should be critically examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consideration of Abiotic Natural Resources in Life Cycle Assessments)
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Open AccessArticle How Much Environment Do Humans Need? Evidence from an Integrated Online User Application Linking Natural Resource Use and Subjective Well-Being in Germany
Received: 15 October 2017 / Revised: 8 November 2017 / Accepted: 9 November 2017 / Published: 29 November 2017
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Abstract
We present the results of a regression analysis of a large-scale integrated user online application that surveys natural resource use and subjective well-being in Germany. We analyse more than 44,000 users who provided information on their natural resource consumption (material footprint) as well
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We present the results of a regression analysis of a large-scale integrated user online application that surveys natural resource use and subjective well-being in Germany. We analyse more than 44,000 users who provided information on their natural resource consumption (material footprint) as well as their personal socio-economic and socio-psychological characteristics. We determine an average material footprint of 26 tonnes per person per year. In addition, we endeavour to determine how much environment humans need by regressing natural resource use as well as relevant socio-economic and socio-psychological features on subjective well-being. We establish a slightly negative correlation between subjective well-being and material footprints. A higher material footprint is associated with lower subjective well-being. We conclude that consumer policies seeking to promote sustainable behaviour should highlight the fact that a lower material footprint may result in greater subjective well-being. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Developing Composite Indicators for Agricultural Sustainability Assessment: Effect of Normalization and Aggregation Techniques
Received: 26 August 2017 / Revised: 18 November 2017 / Accepted: 19 November 2017 / Published: 24 November 2017
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Abstract
The assessment of the sustainability of agricultural systems is multidimensional in nature and requires holistic measures using indicators with different measurements and units reflecting social, economic, and environmental aspects. To simplify the assessment process, various indicators have different units, and measurements are grouped
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The assessment of the sustainability of agricultural systems is multidimensional in nature and requires holistic measures using indicators with different measurements and units reflecting social, economic, and environmental aspects. To simplify the assessment process, various indicators have different units, and measurements are grouped under broad indicator heads, and normalization and/or transformation processes are carried out in order to aggregate them. In this study, a total of 50 indicators from agricultural sustainability categories of productivity, stability, efficiency, durability, compatibility, and equity are employed to investigate which normalization technique is the most suitable for further mathematical analysis for developing a final composite indicator. To understand the consistency and quality of normalization measurement techniques and compare the benefits and drawbacks of the various selected normalization processes, the indicators of agricultural sustainability are considered. Each of the different techniques for normalization has advantages and drawbacks. This study shows that the proportionate normalization and hybrid aggregation rules of the arithmetic mean and the geometric mean are appropriate for the selected data set, and that this technique has a wider applicability for developing composite indicators for agricultural sustainability assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Indicators for Environment Management)
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Open AccessReview Aquatic-Derived Biomaterials for a Sustainable Future: A European Opportunity
Received: 23 September 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 10 November 2017 / Published: 12 November 2017
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Abstract
The valorization of aquatic-derived biowastes as possible feedstock for the production of value-added chemicals and materials is proposed here as a sustainable alternative compared to the exploitation of the more conventional (fossil) resources. In this context, the comprehension of the opportunity related to
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The valorization of aquatic-derived biowastes as possible feedstock for the production of value-added chemicals and materials is proposed here as a sustainable alternative compared to the exploitation of the more conventional (fossil) resources. In this context, the comprehension of the opportunity related to the valorization of the shellfish industry biowaste for the production of useful materials, especially focusing on chitin and its derived byproducts, is investigated. The large amount of waste produced each year by the shellfish processing industry seems to be an appealing opportunity for the European market to produce valuable products from underutilized waste. In order to highlight this important market-opportunity, the actual European situation concerning the shellfish volume of production is presented. The industrial processes necessary for the recovery of chitin, chitosan, and their derivatives are largely described, together with a wide description of their peculiar (and interesting) physicochemical properties. Even if nowadays the scientific literature suggests that this class of biopolymers is very appealing, further research is still necessary for overcoming some criticisms still present in the extraction and valorization of such substrates. However, the principles of both circular economy and green chemistry encourage the reduction of such biowastes and their exploitation as an alternative resource for a global sustainable future. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Evaluation of Wet Digestion Methods for Quantification of Metal Content in Electronic Scrap Material
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 25 October 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
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Abstract
Recent advances in the electronics sector and the short life-span of electronic products have triggered an exponential increase in the generation of electronic waste (E-waste). Effective recycling of E-waste has thus become a serious solid waste management challenge. E-waste management technologies include pyrometallurgy,
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Recent advances in the electronics sector and the short life-span of electronic products have triggered an exponential increase in the generation of electronic waste (E-waste). Effective recycling of E-waste has thus become a serious solid waste management challenge. E-waste management technologies include pyrometallurgy, hydrometallurgy, and bioleaching. Determining the metal content of an E-waste sample is critical in evaluating the efficiency of a metal recovery method in E-waste recycling. However, E-waste is complex and of diverse origins. The lack of a standard digestion method for E-waste has resulted in difficulty in comparing the efficiencies of different metal recovery processes. In this study, several solid digestion protocols including American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)-D6357-11, United States Environment Protection Agency Solid Waste (US EPA SW) 846 Method 3050b, ultrasound-assisted, and microwave digestion methods were compared to determine the metal content (Ag, Al, Au, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, Pd, Sn, and Zn) of electronic scrap materials (ESM) obtained from two different sources. The highest metal recovery (mg/g of ESM) was obtained using ASTM D6357-11 for most of the metals, which remained mainly bound to silicate fractions, while a microwave-assisted digestion protocol (MWD-2) was more effective in solubilizing Al, Pb, and Sn. The study highlights the need for a judicious selection of digestion protocol, and proposes steps for selecting an effective acid digestion method for ESM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Mining for Resource Supply)
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Open AccessArticle Proposal of a Sustainable Circular Index for Manufacturing Companies
Received: 12 September 2017 / Revised: 1 November 2017 / Accepted: 8 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
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Abstract
Recently the circular economy has increasingly received attention worldwide due to the recognition that the security of the supply of resources and environmental sustainability are crucial for the prosperity of all the countries and businesses. G20 countries are stimulating the development of frameworks
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Recently the circular economy has increasingly received attention worldwide due to the recognition that the security of the supply of resources and environmental sustainability are crucial for the prosperity of all the countries and businesses. G20 countries are stimulating the development of frameworks that enhance the circular economy and generally more sustainable production and consumption modes. In this context, this paper aims to suggest an index to assess the sustainability and the circularity of manufacturing companies. With this tenet, a Sustainable Circular Index (SCI) is proposed based on a five-phase framework. This index could support managers in assessing their level of sustainability and circularity and in implementing some practices that could improve the performances of their companies regarding these two topics. This index represents an important benchmarking tool for manufacturing companies to assess their sustainable and circular behavior and represents a guideline for managers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Indicators for Environment Management)
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Open AccessArticle A New Composite Index for Greenhouse Gases: Climate Science Meets Social Science
Received: 10 August 2017 / Revised: 13 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 25 October 2017
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Abstract
Global greenhouse gas emissions have increased at a rate of nearly 2% per year since 1970, and the rate of increase has been increasing. The contribution of greenhouse gases to global warming constitutes an environmental management challenge requiring interdisciplinary effort and international cooperation.
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Global greenhouse gas emissions have increased at a rate of nearly 2% per year since 1970, and the rate of increase has been increasing. The contribution of greenhouse gases to global warming constitutes an environmental management challenge requiring interdisciplinary effort and international cooperation. In an effort to meet this challenge, the Kyoto Protocol imposes limits on aggregate CO2-equivalent emissions of four greenhouse gases, although it permits countries to trade off one gas for another at specified rates. This requires a definition of trade-off rates, which the Protocol specifies as Global Warming Potentials, although these have been controversial since their introduction. The primary source of concern has been the constancy of the trade-off rates, both across countries and through time. We propose a new composite index that allows freely variable trade-off rates, thereby facilitating the design of efficient abatement policy. In a pair of exercises we compare our composite index with that used by the Protocol. In both exercises we reject the constancy of trade-off rates, although despite the significantly different weighting schemes we find a degree of concordance between the two greenhouse gas indices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Indicators for Environment Management)
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Open AccessArticle Analyzing Platinum and Palladium Consumption and Demand Forecast in Japan
Received: 5 September 2017 / Revised: 14 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 25 October 2017
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Abstract
Platinum and palladium are used in small but essential quantities in a variety of advanced industrial sectors. Platinum and palladium are used as catalysts in various industrial sectors, especially in the car industry. However, their sources are typically concentrated in South Africa and
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Platinum and palladium are used in small but essential quantities in a variety of advanced industrial sectors. Platinum and palladium are used as catalysts in various industrial sectors, especially in the car industry. However, their sources are typically concentrated in South Africa and Russia, and there are concerns about supply security. In terms of resource security, it is important to verify domestic platinum and palladium consumption trends and future demand. In order to understand the domestic platinum and palladium consumption trends in Japan, we tracked the historical platinum and palladium consumption structures from 2001 to 2013, applying a bottom-up approach, and illustrated recent domestic platinum and palladium flow by using a substance flow analysis. The results showed that catalytic converters (9.1–12.8 t) and jewelry (5.3–15.5 t) for platinum, and catalytic converters (14.2–20.0 t) and dental use (9.5–16.4 t) for palladium, have marked the biggest consumption sectors during 2001–2013, where the total consumption of platinum and palladium have fluctuated by 18.4–31.6 t for platinum and from 33.0–46.3 t for palladium. We also forecasted the demand for each end-use of both up to the year 2025 using multiple regression analysis. Our results suggest that platinum demand could decrease from 18.9 t in 2013 to 11.9 t in 2025 and palladium demand could slightly decrease from 33.0 t in 2013 to 13.8 t in 2025. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Mining for Resource Supply)
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Open AccessArticle A Tool for the Sustainability Assessment of Farms: Selection, Adaptation and Use of Indicators for an Italian Case Study
Received: 20 September 2017 / Revised: 20 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
Indicator-based tools are widely used for the assessment of farm sustainability, but analysts still face methodological and conceptual issues, including data availability, the complexity of the concept of sustainability and the heterogeneity of agricultural systems. This study contributes to this debate through the
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Indicator-based tools are widely used for the assessment of farm sustainability, but analysts still face methodological and conceptual issues, including data availability, the complexity of the concept of sustainability and the heterogeneity of agricultural systems. This study contributes to this debate through the illustration of a procedure for farm sustainability assessment focussed on the case study of the South Milan Agricultural Park, Italy. The application is based on a set of environmental, social and economic indicators retrieved from the literature review. The framework is based on three main steps: (i) Data collection mainly through interviews with farmers and institutions; (ii) data elaboration through an aggregative structure; and (iii) score analysis. The latter step includes a descriptive analysis that allows a comparison among farms or groups of farms and a principal components analysis that helps to confirm the dimensions in which indicators were previously included (components). Results derived from the sampled farms show that the framework can provide easy-to-read results useful at different levels. The study highlighted the procedures for the framework construction that is compatible with the region’s context and objectives, using an analytical approach that aims at the use of balanced features of availability and reliability of data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Indicators for Environment Management)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Governance and Risk–Value Constructions in Closing Loops of Rare Earth Elements in Global Value Chains
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 15 September 2017 / Accepted: 3 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
This article addresses a research gap on the challenges—specifically risk and value—connected to realizing the potential for closing loops for rare earth elements (REE). We develop an analytical framework from conceptual elements of the global value chain (GVC) framework and the relational theory
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This article addresses a research gap on the challenges—specifically risk and value—connected to realizing the potential for closing loops for rare earth elements (REE). We develop an analytical framework from conceptual elements of the global value chain (GVC) framework and the relational theory of risk to examine several empirical REE industry cases for loop closure. The aim of the paper is to identify how risk–value relationships are constructed by different actors as governance structures form in transactions prior to price setting and how these have impacts on the closure of REE loops. Often, REE loops are not closed, and we find that constructions of the risk–value relationship by industrial actors and by government agencies are unstable as they pursue different motivations, consequently hindering REE loop closure in GVCs. In light of this, we propose that governments mediate against the construction of risk–value relationships by facilitating information on the characteristics of end-of-life materials that qualify these for re-entry into loops. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Biomethane: A Renewable Resource as Vehicle Fuel
Received: 8 September 2017 / Revised: 16 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 22 October 2017
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Abstract
The European Union (EU) has set a mandatory target for renewable fuels of 10% for each member state by 2020. Biomethane is a renewable energy representing an alternative to the use of fossil fuels in the transport sector. This resource is a solution
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The European Union (EU) has set a mandatory target for renewable fuels of 10% for each member state by 2020. Biomethane is a renewable energy representing an alternative to the use of fossil fuels in the transport sector. This resource is a solution to reach this target. Furthermore, it contributes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, gives social benefits and increases the security supply. Sustainability is reached also when the economic opportunities are verified. This work studies the profitability of small plants of biomethane, which is sold as vehicle fuel using the Net Present Value (NPV) and Discounted Payback Time (DPBT). The paper shows in detail the method used for the economic assessment of two typologies of feedstock recovered: (i) municipal solid waste and (ii) agricultural waste. Detailed information about the various parameters that affect the profitability of biomethane is given, and several case studies are analyzed as a function of two variables: subsidies and selling price. The results support the commercialization of small-scale plants, reducing also several environmental issues. The role of subsidies is strategic, and the profitability is verified only in some case studies Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Historical Review of Waste Management and Recycling in South Africa
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 3 October 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 19 October 2017
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Abstract
Recycling has been taking place in South Africa for more than three decades, driven by social and economic needs. While the waste hierarchy is embedded in national policy, an extensive legislative framework has made it more and more challenging for the public and
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Recycling has been taking place in South Africa for more than three decades, driven by social and economic needs. While the waste hierarchy is embedded in national policy, an extensive legislative framework has made it more and more challenging for the public and private sector to remain compliant and competitive in a local and global market, and still drive waste away from landfill towards reuse, recycling and recovery. A local recycling economy, on par with many developed countries, is in part due to a large and active informal waste sector. In the absence of separation at source across South African cities and towns, informal waste pickers have been key to accessing resources which the private sector has struggled to access, due to gatekeeping by municipalities. The South African waste and recycling sector can be defined in terms of four main stages of development—“The Age of Landfilling”, “The Emergence of Recycling”, “The Flood of Regulation” and “The Drive for EPR”, and is currently standing on the brink of a fifth stage—“The future is a Circular Economy”. The low hanging fruit, the easy to collect and recycle products, has been reaped. Moving to higher diversion from landfill targets will require more investment by the private sector and by government in the future. The social, economic and environmental benefits of doing this are clear, but must be balanced against the cost that will ultimately be borne by society, as consumers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Performance Analysis of Slinky Horizontal Ground Heat Exchangers for a Ground Source Heat Pump System
Received: 26 July 2017 / Revised: 30 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
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This paper highlights the thermal performance of reclined (parallel to ground surface) and standing (perpendicular to ground surface) slinky horizontal ground heat exchangers (HGHEs) with different water mass flow rates in the heating mode of continuous and intermittent operations. A copper tube with
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This paper highlights the thermal performance of reclined (parallel to ground surface) and standing (perpendicular to ground surface) slinky horizontal ground heat exchangers (HGHEs) with different water mass flow rates in the heating mode of continuous and intermittent operations. A copper tube with an outer surface protected with low-density polyethylene was selected as the tube material of the ground heat exchanger. Effects on ground temperature around the reclined slinky HGHE due to heat extraction and the effect of variation of ground temperatures on reclined HGHE performance are discussed. A higher heat exchange rate was experienced in standing HGHE than in reclined HGHE. The standing HGHE was affected by deeper ground temperature and also a greater amount of backfilled sand in standing HGHE (4.20 m3) than reclined HGHE (1.58 m3), which has higher thermal conductivity than site soil. For mass flow rate of 1 L/min with inlet water temperature 7 °C, the 4-day average heat extraction rates increased 45.3% and 127.3%, respectively, when the initial average ground temperatures at 1.5 m depth around reclined HGHE increased from 10.4 °C to 11.7 °C and 10.4 °C to 13.7 °C. In the case of intermittent operation, which boosted the thermal performance, a short time interval of intermittent operation is better than a long time interval of intermittent operation. Furthermore, from the viewpoint of power consumption by the circulating pump, the intermittent operation is more efficient than continuous operation. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Ranking of Sustainability Indicators for Assessment of the New Housing Development Projects: Case of the Baltic States
Received: 24 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 2 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2483 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Sustainable development is inconceivable without healthy real estate market. A housing project can be regarded as sustainable only when all the dimensions of sustainability (environmental, economic, and social) are dealt with. There has been an increased interest in using sustainability indicators for evaluating
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Sustainable development is inconceivable without healthy real estate market. A housing project can be regarded as sustainable only when all the dimensions of sustainability (environmental, economic, and social) are dealt with. There has been an increased interest in using sustainability indicators for evaluating the impacts of the new development projects. Although international literature is rich in sustainability assessments, there are no tools developed for assessment of new residential projects in the specific context of the Baltic States. Therefore, the aim of this article is to fill this gap and to propose an integrated, hierarchically structured system of sustainability indicators to be used for assessment of the new housing development projects. This aim is achieved through accomplishing three objectives. First, based on a review of literature related to assessing building project performance and sustainable development in construction, the paper proposes an original hierarchically structured system of sustainability indicators suitable for the Baltic context. Second, based on a survey of experts, significances of criteria are estimated by the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) method. Finally, paper proposes recommendations to government authorities and real estate developers as to how to enhance the performance of new residential projects according to the principles of sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Indicators for Environment Management)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Participatory Process to Develop a Landslide Warning System: Paradoxes of Responsibility Sharing in a Case Study in Upper Austria
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 18 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 3 October 2017
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Abstract
During a participatory process in Gmunden, Austria, the organizational and responsibility-sharing arrangements for a landslide warning system proved to be contested issues. While questions on the warning system technology and the distribution of information, including the alarm for evacuation, could be resolved with
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During a participatory process in Gmunden, Austria, the organizational and responsibility-sharing arrangements for a landslide warning system proved to be contested issues. While questions on the warning system technology and the distribution of information, including the alarm for evacuation, could be resolved with the support of experts, controversies arose on the financial and legal responsibilities that ensure long-term and effective monitoring for the protection of the landslide-prone community. This paper examines how responsibilities can be shared among the residents, experts, and public authorities during the design and operation of landslide warning systems. In particular, we discuss the outcome and implications of three stakeholder workshops where participants deliberated on warning-system options that, in turn, were based on a discourse analysis of extensive stakeholder interviews. The results of the case study show that an end-user orientation requires the consideration of stakeholder worldviews, interests, and conflicts. Paradoxically, the public did not fully support their own involvement in the maintenance and control of the warning system, but the authorities promoted shared responsibility. Deliberative planning does not then necessarily lead to responsibility sharing, but it proved effective as a platform for information and for shared ownership in the warning system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Difficult Decisions in Disaster Risk and Environmental Management)
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Open AccessArticle An Incremental Economic Analysis of Establishing Early Successional Habitat for Biodiversity
Received: 6 July 2017 / Revised: 24 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
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Abstract
Early successional habitat (ESH) is an important component of natural landscapes and is crucial to maintaining biodiversity. ESH also impacts endangered species. The extent of forest disturbances resulting in ESH has been diminishing, and foresters have developed timber management regimes using standard silvicultural
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Early successional habitat (ESH) is an important component of natural landscapes and is crucial to maintaining biodiversity. ESH also impacts endangered species. The extent of forest disturbances resulting in ESH has been diminishing, and foresters have developed timber management regimes using standard silvicultural techniques that enhance ESH. We developed a financial framework to evaluate these ESH-enhancing forest management regimes, driven by differences in timber harvest costs and timber revenue. The economic model was applied to on-the-ground prescriptions in the Nantahala National Forest (NNF) designed to increase biodiversity and foster improved public awareness of the importance of ESH. Bats, a current conservation concern, commonly exploit ESH and were the focus of our prescriptions. The prescriptions were based on shelterwood cuts of varying patch size, spacing between the cuts, and the trail area required to move from patch to patch. The results showed that prescriptions with large patch areas were effective in increasing ESH, with minimal impact on the financial performance of timber harvesting operations. This information can be used to minimize financial losses while catering to wildlife species that prefer ESH, in addition to increasing overall biodiversity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Waste Picker Organizations and Their Contribution to the Circular Economy: Two Case Studies from a Global South Perspective
Received: 8 August 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 23 September 2017 / Published: 27 September 2017
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Abstract
The discussion on the circular economy (CE) has attracted a rising interest within global policy and business as a way of increasing the sustainability of production and consumption. Yet the literature mostly portrays a Global North perspective. There is a diverse spectrum of
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The discussion on the circular economy (CE) has attracted a rising interest within global policy and business as a way of increasing the sustainability of production and consumption. Yet the literature mostly portrays a Global North perspective. There is a diverse spectrum of community-based organizations playing important roles in resource recovery and transformation, particularly, but not only, in Global South countries, providing innovative examples for grassroots involvement in waste management and in the CE. This article proposes to add a Southern lens, situated in the context of waste picker organizations, to the concept of CE. The discursive framework in this article couples ecological economy (EE) with social/solidarity economy (SSE), focusing not only on environmental sustainability but also on social, economic, political and cultural dimensions involved in production, consumption and discard. We acknowledge that grassroots movements contribute to policy making and improve urban waste management systems. The paper outlines two empirical studies (Argentina, Brazil) that illustrate how waste picker organizations perform selective waste collection services, engage with municipalities and industries, and practice the CE. The research reveals that social and political facets need to be added to the debate about the CE, linking environmental management and policy with community development and recognizing waste pickers as protagonists in the CE. Our findings emphasize a need for a change of persisting inequalities in public policy by recognizing the importance of popular waste management praxis and knowledge, ultimately redefining the CE. Full article
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Open AccessReview Geochemistry of Monazite within Carbonatite Related REE Deposits
Received: 15 July 2017 / Revised: 12 August 2017 / Accepted: 7 September 2017 / Published: 27 September 2017
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Abstract
Approximately >50% of global rare earth element (REE) resources are hosted by carbonatite related deposits, of which monazite is one of the most important REE minerals. Monazite dominates more than 30 carbonatite-related REE deposits around the world, including currently exploited mineralization at Bayan
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Approximately >50% of global rare earth element (REE) resources are hosted by carbonatite related deposits, of which monazite is one of the most important REE minerals. Monazite dominates more than 30 carbonatite-related REE deposits around the world, including currently exploited mineralization at Bayan Obo and Mount Weld. These deposits are widely distributed across all continents, except Antarctica. Though rare, monazite occurs as the primary mineral in carbonatite, and mostly presents as a secondary mineral that has a strong association with apatite. It can partially or completely replace thin or thick overgrowth apatite, depending on the availability of REE. Other mineral phases that usually crystallize together with monazite include barite, fluorite, xenotime, sulfide, and quartz in a carbonate matrix (e.g., dolomite, calcite). This review of monazite geochemistry within carbonatite-related REE deposits aims to provide information regarding the use of monazite as a geochemical indicator to track the formation history of the REE deposits and also supply additional information for the beneficiation of monazite. The chemical compositions of monazite are highly variable, and Ce-monazite is the dominant solid solution in carbonatite related deposits. Most monazite displays steep fractionation from La to Lu, absent of either Eu or Ce anomalies in the chondrite normalized REE plot. The other significant components are huttonite and cheratite. Some rare sulfur-bearing monazite is also identified with an SO3 content up to 4 wt %. A 147Sm/144Nd ratio with an average ~0.071 for monazite within carbonatite-related ores is similar to that of their host rocks (~0.065), and is the lowest among all types of REE deposits. Sm/Nd variation of monazite from a single complex reflects the differentiation stage of magma, which decreases from early to late. Based on the differences of Nd and Sr abundances, Nd isotopic composition for monazite can be used to track the magma source, whereas Sr isotopic composition records the signatures of the fluid source. Th-(U)-Pb age determination of the secondary monazite records variable thermal or metasomatic disturbances, and careful geochronological interpretation should be brought forward combined with other lines of evidence. ThO2 is the most difficult contamination in the beneficiation of monazite, luckily, the ThO2 content of monazite within carbonatite is generally low (<2 wt %). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Improving the Sustainability of Farming Practices through the Use of a Symbiotic Approach for Anaerobic Digestion and Digestate Processing
Received: 22 August 2017 / Revised: 18 September 2017 / Accepted: 19 September 2017 / Published: 26 September 2017
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Abstract
The dairy sector in the Netherlands aims for a 30% increase in efficiency and 30% carbon dioxide emission reduction compared to the reference year of 1990, and a 20% share of renewable energy, all by the year 2020. Anaerobic Digestion (AD) can play
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The dairy sector in the Netherlands aims for a 30% increase in efficiency and 30% carbon dioxide emission reduction compared to the reference year of 1990, and a 20% share of renewable energy, all by the year 2020. Anaerobic Digestion (AD) can play a substantial role in achieving these aims. However, results from this study indicate that the AD system is not fully optimized in combination with farming practices regarding sustainability. Therefore, the Industrial Symbiosis concept, combined with energy and environmental system analysis, Life Cycle Analysis and modeling is used to optimize a farm-scale AD system on four indicators of sustainability (i.e., energy efficiency, carbon footprint, environmental impacts and costs). Implemented in a theoretical case, where a cooperation of farms share biomass feedstocks, a symbiotic AD system can significantly lower external energy consumption by 72 to 92%, carbon footprint by 71 to 91%, environmental impacts by 68 to 89%, and yearly expenditures by 56 to 66% compared to a reference cooperation. The largest reductions and economic gains can be achieved when a surplus of manure is available for upgrading into organic fertilizer to replace fossil fertilizers. Applying the aforementioned symbiotic concept to the Dutch farming sector can help to achieve the stated goals indicated by the Dutch agricultural sector for the year 2020. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Indicators for Environment Management)
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Open AccessArticle Bacterial Pathogen Occurrence and Persistence in Livestock Mortality Biopiles
Received: 8 August 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 26 September 2017
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Abstract
Properly managed biopiles can be used for slaughterhouse-residual degradation and bacterial pathogen inactivation, which otherwise represent a major health risk in the environment. Biopiles were used to dispose of slaughterhouse-residuals and determine the occurrence and persistence patterns of indicators of pathogenic bacteria. The
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Properly managed biopiles can be used for slaughterhouse-residual degradation and bacterial pathogen inactivation, which otherwise represent a major health risk in the environment. Biopiles were used to dispose of slaughterhouse-residuals and determine the occurrence and persistence patterns of indicators of pathogenic bacteria. The indicator bacteria included the family Enterobacteriaceae, total coliforms, Escherichia coli, nalidixic acid-resistant E. coli, and Streptococcus fecalis. The slaughterhouse-residual biopiles remained static for 164 d in 2006 and 141 d in 2007. In biopile effluent samples, exponentially decreasing populations of the indicator bacteria were observed. Indicator bacteria presence in biopile and soil samples suggested their retention and persistence in, but not migration from, the media. Though the family Enterobacteriaceae, total coliforms, and Escherichia coli shared behavioral correlations, they exhibited different fates in all media compared to S. fecalis, which was observed to persist and re-grow. The behavior of inoculated nalidixic acid-resistant E. coli suggested that inactivation was the primary process in the biopiles. However, the biopiles constituted continual sources of the indicator bacteria due to their persistence in isolated and protected locations, and changes in dominant species. While biopiling slaughterhouse-residuals was effective to inactivate >99% (log reductions) of indicator bacteria, tertiary methods and biopiling phases should be employed to ensure inactivation of pathogenic bacteria in animal waste biopiles. The fate of bacterial indicators in this system exhibited trends not-as-yet observed for animal waste biopiling activities, which generates numerous questions for further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Indicators for Environment Management)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Policy Integration of Sustainable Consumption and Production into National Policies
Received: 19 July 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 22 September 2017
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Abstract
Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) was adopted as a stand-alone goal and reflected as one of the cross-cutting objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a central role to address global resource consumption and its associated environmental impacts, as well as numerous
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Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) was adopted as a stand-alone goal and reflected as one of the cross-cutting objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a central role to address global resource consumption and its associated environmental impacts, as well as numerous social and economic issues. With this broad characterization of SCP, policy integration is crucial in addressing it at national level. This paper analyzes characteristics of SCP policy integration based on a survey of national government policies. It reveals that SCP is not fully integrated in national policy-making; high resource consumption sectors such as urban planning, building, and tourism are not fully incorporated into national SCP policies, and there is only limited participation of relevant government ministries other than environment ministries. We find that among countries with horizontal policy integration, those with Green Economy/Green Growth frameworks tend to have better sectoral integration; and those with SCP-specific frameworks are likely to have broader coordination of ministries. By conducting cross-analysis using income level and region, the different characteristics of SCP policy-making approaches were identified. The results of this study provide a better understanding of how SCP is integrated into policy for effective national policy-making and measurement of the SDG Goal 12. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Development Goals)
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