Open AccessArticle
The Engagement of Students in Higher Education Institutions with the Concepts of Sustainability: A Case Study of the University of Northampton, in England
Resources 2017, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/resources6010003 -
Abstract
Across higher education institutions there has, for some time, been a growing move towards incorporation of the concepts of sustainability into the policies and practices of the organisations. Using the University of Northampton, in the United Kingdom as a case study, this project
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Across higher education institutions there has, for some time, been a growing move towards incorporation of the concepts of sustainability into the policies and practices of the organisations. Using the University of Northampton, in the United Kingdom as a case study, this project aimed to understand the efficacy of student engagement with a sustainability project called Planet Too. The study employed a range of methods including waste and energy audits, as well as questionnaire surveys both with students and landlords to examine their environmental attitudes, beliefs, and practices. The project was able to lead to increased awareness and engagement with the concepts of sustainability amongst the students. Recycling, though it was not one of the initiatives focused upon, was a key practice mentioned by both students and landlords. The engagement of the landlords was focused primarily on conservation of energy and water. However, conservation practices generally remained static, with limited significant or long-term changes in environmental practices. The key implications of the findings are discussed and recommendations suggested. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Resources in 2016
Resources 2017, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/resources6010002 -
Abstract The editors of Resources would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Environmental and Energy Performance of Ethanol Production from the Integration of Sugarcane, Corn, and Grain Sorghum in a Multipurpose Plant
Resources 2017, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/resources6010001 -
Abstract
Although in the last 40 years only sugarcane has been harnessed for the production of ethanol in Brazil, corn production has grown strongly in certain areas, and may serve as a supplementary feedstock for ethanol production in integrated plants during the sugarcane off-season.
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Although in the last 40 years only sugarcane has been harnessed for the production of ethanol in Brazil, corn production has grown strongly in certain areas, and may serve as a supplementary feedstock for ethanol production in integrated plants during the sugarcane off-season. The aim of this study is to evaluate the environmental and energy performance of ethanol production from sugarcane, corn, and grain sorghum in a Flex Mill in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. A life cycle assessment was carried out to survey the production of ethanol from each individual feedstock, and the integration of two of these to increase production during a one-year period. Results indicate that the environmental and energy performance are greatly influenced by agricultural activities, highlighting the importance of sugarcane cultivation. Still, there was an increasing trend of Climate Change impacts, Human Toxicity (carcinogenic) and Ecotoxicity, as well as reduced impact of Photochemical Oxidant Formation and Energy Return on Investment (EROI) as the proportion of ethanol from starchy sources in integration scenarios increases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Economic Impacts from Development of the Coastal Town in Queensland on Tourism and Regional Economy
Resources 2016, 5(4), 48; doi:10.3390/resources5040048 -
Abstract
This paper discusses the impacts of proposed development projects at Emu Park—a coastal town in Queensland, Australia—on regional economy. The input–output (IO) analysis is used to assess the economic benefits to the region. The economic impacts from the construction stage are identified. The
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This paper discusses the impacts of proposed development projects at Emu Park—a coastal town in Queensland, Australia—on regional economy. The input–output (IO) analysis is used to assess the economic benefits to the region. The economic impacts from the construction stage are identified. The ongoing benefits from the projects to the regional economy due to a potential increase in tourists’ visits are investigated. The regional economy will grow more rapidly if the connections among the tourism related sectors and key industries are encouraged. Local procurement strategies can assist in enhancing the benefits from increased tourism to the region. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How Much Time Does a Farmer Spend to Produce My food? An International Comparison of the Impact of Diets and Mechanization
Resources 2016, 5(4), 47; doi:10.3390/resources5040047 -
Abstract
Work is one of the main inputs in agriculture. It can be performed by humans, animals, or machinery. Studies have shown strong differences throughout the world in labour required to produce a kilogram of food. We complement this line of research by linking
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Work is one of the main inputs in agriculture. It can be performed by humans, animals, or machinery. Studies have shown strong differences throughout the world in labour required to produce a kilogram of food. We complement this line of research by linking these data to food consumption patterns, which are also strongly different throughout the world. We calculate the hours of farm labour required to produce a person’s annual food consumption for four scenarios. These scenarios are comprised of two extreme cases for production systems and diets, respectively, that illustrate prevailing global differences. Our results show that the farm labour requirements differ by a factor of about 200 among production systems, and by a factor of about two among consumption patterns. The gain in farm labour efficiency with mechanization is enormous: only 2–5 hours of farm labour are needed to produce the food consumed by a person in a year. This value is much lower than the time an average person spends on buying food, cooking, or eating. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Critical Assessment of the Resource Depletion Potential of Current and Future Lithium-Ion Batteries
Resources 2016, 5(4), 46; doi:10.3390/resources5040046 -
Abstract
Resource depletion aspects are repeatedly used as an argument for a shift towards new battery technologies. However, whether serious shortages due to the increased demand for traction and stationary batteries can actually be expected is subject to an ongoing discussion. In order to
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Resource depletion aspects are repeatedly used as an argument for a shift towards new battery technologies. However, whether serious shortages due to the increased demand for traction and stationary batteries can actually be expected is subject to an ongoing discussion. In order to identify the principal drivers of resource depletion for battery production, we assess different lithium-ion battery types and a new lithium-free battery technology (sodium-ion) under this aspect, applying different assessment methodologies. The findings show that very different results are obtained with existing impact assessment methodologies, which hinders clear interpretation. While cobalt, nickel and copper can generally be considered as critical metals, the magnitude of their depletion impacts in comparison with that of other battery materials like lithium, aluminum or manganese differs substantially. A high importance is also found for indirect resource depletion effects caused by the co-extraction of metals from mixed ores. Remarkably, the resource depletion potential per kg of produced battery is driven only partially by the electrode materials and thus depends comparably little on the battery chemistry itself. One of the key drivers for resource depletion seems to be the metals (and co-products) in electronic parts required for the battery management system, a component rather independent from the actual battery chemistry. However, when assessing the batteries on a capacity basis (per kWh storage capacity), a high-energy density also turns out to be relevant, since it reduces the mass of battery required for providing one kWh, and thus the associated resource depletion impacts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Taking the Step towards a More Dynamic View on Raw Material Criticality: An Indicator Based Analysis for Germany and Japan
Resources 2016, 5(4), 45; doi:10.3390/resources5040045 -
Abstract
Due to mounting concerns about the security of raw material supplies, numerous studies dealing with the quantification of supply risks and material criticality at the national level have been carried out in previous years. Regarding these studies, most approaches are indicator based static
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Due to mounting concerns about the security of raw material supplies, numerous studies dealing with the quantification of supply risks and material criticality at the national level have been carried out in previous years. Regarding these studies, most approaches are indicator based static screening methods analyzing large numbers of raw materials and identifying those which are most critical for an economy. The majority of these screening methods quantify supply risks and vulnerabilities for one base year without taking into account temporal changes. Dynamic approaches for specific raw materials analyzing affected value chains in detail have been introduced recently; however, these studies do not intend to provide a screening of larger numbers of commodities. In this paper, we present a simple dynamic screening approach to assess raw material criticality at the country level building upon methods from innovation economics. The indicators applied in this study are only based on broadly available production and trade data, which makes this approach relatively easy to apply. We test our methodology on the example of Germany and Japan—two economies with highly specialized industries and low domestic raw material deposits, and, hence, high import dependency. The results are comparable to those of previously conducted multi indicator based static screening methods. However, they provide additional insight into temporal developments over the previous decade. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Feasibility of Small Wind Turbines in Ontario: Integrating Power Curves with Wind Trends
Resources 2016, 5(4), 44; doi:10.3390/resources5040044 -
Abstract
Micro-scale/small wind turbines, unlike larger utility-scale turbines, produce electricity at a rate of 300 W to 10 kW at their rated wind speed and are typically below 30 m in hub-height. These wind turbines have much more flexibility in their costs, maintenance and
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Micro-scale/small wind turbines, unlike larger utility-scale turbines, produce electricity at a rate of 300 W to 10 kW at their rated wind speed and are typically below 30 m in hub-height. These wind turbines have much more flexibility in their costs, maintenance and siting, owing to their size, and can provided wind energy in areas much less suited for direct supply to the grid system. In the future under climate change, the energy landscape will likely shift from the present centralized electricity generation and delivery system to a more distributed and locally-generated electricity and delivery system. In the new system configuration, the role of relatively small sustainable electricity generators like small wind turbines will likely become more prominent. However, the small wind industry has been substantially slow to progress in Ontario, Canada, and there is much debate over its viability in a growing energy dependent economy. This study seeks to demonstrate the performance of a small wind turbine, and speculate on its potential power output and trend over Ontario historically over the last 33 years using the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data. We assessed the efficiency of a Bergey Excel 1 kW wind turbine at the pre-established Kortright Centre for Conservation test site, located north of Toronto. Using a novel approach, the Bergey optimized power curve was incorporated with reanalysis data to establish power output across Ontario at three-hour resolution. Small turbine-based wind power around the Great Lakes and eastern James Bay increased during winter and fall, contributing up to 10% of the annual electricity demand in some regions in Ontario. We purport that increases in power output are driven by long-term reductions in sea and lake ice concentrations affecting atmospheric stability in surrounding regions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Criteria Evaluation of End-of-Life Vehicles’ Dismantling Scenarios with Respect to Technical Performance and Sustainability Issues
Resources 2016, 5(4), 42; doi:10.3390/resources5040042 -
Abstract
Three scenarios of dismantling and shredding operations of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) were compared in this study with respect to technical and sustainability criteria, according to the level of dismantling applied to the vehicles. The scenarios differed from each other in the extent of
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Three scenarios of dismantling and shredding operations of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) were compared in this study with respect to technical and sustainability criteria, according to the level of dismantling applied to the vehicles. The scenarios differed from each other in the extent of the dismantling operations. They were implemented experimentally at the industrial scale on representative samples of 120 vehicles. The data collected from the monitoring of the experimental campaigns were used as feed data for the multi-criteria analysis of the scenarios using the PROMETHEE method. Nine criteria of evaluation were selected, namely global warming, local environmental impacts, tropospheric ozone production, ecotoxicity, operational costs, investment costs, occupational risks, employability, and technical performance. The medium-level dismantling scenario was identified as the best scenario with respect to the criteria of evaluation. This scenario included the steps of depollution, followed by the removal of easily accessible and identifiable plastics and glasses. Reasonable changes in the ponderation of the evaluation criteria did not significantly affect the ranking. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Allocating Group-Level Payments for Ecosystem Services: Experiences from a REDD+ Pilot in Tanzania
Resources 2016, 5(4), 43; doi:10.3390/resources5040043 -
Abstract
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) typically reward landowners for managing their land to provide ecosystem services that would not otherwise be provided. REDD+—Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation—is a form of PES aimed at decreasing carbon emissions from forest conversion and extraction
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Payments for ecosystem services (PES) typically reward landowners for managing their land to provide ecosystem services that would not otherwise be provided. REDD+—Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation—is a form of PES aimed at decreasing carbon emissions from forest conversion and extraction in lower-income countries. A key challenge for REDD+ occurs when it is implemented at a group, rather than an individual landowner, level. Whilst achieving a group-level reduction relies on individuals changing their interaction with the forest, incentives are not aligned explicitly at the individual level. Rather, payments are made to a defined group as a single entity in exchange for verified reduced forest loss, as per a PES scheme. In this paper, we explore how REDD+ has been implemented in one multiple-village pilot in Tanzania with the village defining the group. Our findings suggest that considerable attention has been paid towards monitoring, reporting, verification (MRV), and equity. No explicit mechanism ensures individual compliance with the village-level PES, and few villages allocate funds for explicit enforcement efforts to protect the forest from illegal activities undertaken by individual group members or by outsiders. However, the development of village-level institutions, “social fencing,” and a shared future through equal REDD+ payments, factor into decisions that influence the level of compliance at the village level that the program will eventually achieve. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Marginal Life-Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Electricity Generation in Portugal and Implications for Electric Vehicles
Resources 2016, 5(4), 41; doi:10.3390/resources5040041 -
Abstract
This article assesses marginal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of electricity generation in Portugal to understand the impact of activities that affect electricity demand in the near term. In particular, it investigates the introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) in the Portuguese light-duty fleet considering
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This article assesses marginal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of electricity generation in Portugal to understand the impact of activities that affect electricity demand in the near term. In particular, it investigates the introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) in the Portuguese light-duty fleet considering different displacement and charging scenarios (vehicle technologies displaced, EV charging time). Coal and natural gas were identified as the marginal sources, but their contribution to the margin depended on the hour of the day, time of year, and system load, causing marginal emissions from electricity to vary significantly. Results show that for an electricity system with a high share of non-dispatchable renewable power, such as the Portuguese system, marginal emissions are considerably higher than average emissions. Because of the temporal variability in the marginal electricity supply, the time of charging may have a major influence on the GHG emissions of EVs. Off-peak charging leads to higher GHG emissions than peak charging, due to a higher contribution of coal to the margin. Furthermore, compared to an all-conventional fleet, EV introduction causes an increase in overall GHG emissions in most cases. However, EV effects are very dependent on the time of charging and the assumptions about the displaced technology. Full article
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Open AccessReview
System Dynamics Modeling for Agricultural and Natural Resource Management Issues: Review of Some Past Cases and Forecasting Future Roles
Resources 2016, 5(4), 40; doi:10.3390/resources5040040 -
Abstract
Contemporary issues in agriculture and natural resource management (AGNR) span a wide spectrum of challenges and scales—from global climate change to resiliency in national and regional food systems to the sustainability of livelihoods of small-holder farmers—all of which may be characterized as complex
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Contemporary issues in agriculture and natural resource management (AGNR) span a wide spectrum of challenges and scales—from global climate change to resiliency in national and regional food systems to the sustainability of livelihoods of small-holder farmers—all of which may be characterized as complex problems. With rapid development of tools and technologies over the previous half century (e.g., computer simulation), a plethora of disciplines have developed methods to address individual components of these multifaceted, complex problems, oftentimes neglecting unintended consequences to other systems. A systems thinking approach is needed to (1) address these contemporary AGNR issues given their multi- and interdisciplinary aspects; (2) utilize a holistic perspective to accommodate all of the elements of the problem; and (3) include qualitative and quantitative techniques to incorporate “soft” and “hard” elements into the analyses. System dynamics (SD) methodology is uniquely suited to investigate AGNR given their inherently complex behaviors. In this paper, we review applications of SD to AGNR and discuss the potential contributions and roles of SD in addressing emergent problems of the 21st century. We identified numerous SD cases applied to water, soil, food systems, and smallholder issues. More importantly, several case studies are shown illustrating the tradeoffs between short-term and long-term strategies and the pitfalls of relying on quick fixes to AGNR problems (known as “fixes that backfire” and “shifting the burden”, well-known, commonly occurring, systemic structures—or archetypes—observed across numerous management situations [Senge, P.M. The Fifth Discipline, 1st ed.; Doubleday: New York, NY, USA, 1990.]). We conclude that common attempts to alleviate AGNR problems, across continents and regardless of the type of resources involved, have suffered from reliance on short-term management strategies. To effectively address AGNR problems, longer-term thinking and strategies aimed at fundamental solutions will be needed to better identify and minimize the often delayed, and unintended, consequences arising from feedback between management interventions and AGNR systems. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Prospective Analysis of Life-Cycle Indicators through Endogenous Integration into a National Power Generation Model
Resources 2016, 5(4), 39; doi:10.3390/resources5040039 -
Abstract
Given the increasing importance of sustainability aspects in national energy plans, this article deals with the prospective analysis of life-cycle indicators of the power generation sector through the case study of Spain. A technology-rich, optimisation-based model for power generation in Spain is developed
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Given the increasing importance of sustainability aspects in national energy plans, this article deals with the prospective analysis of life-cycle indicators of the power generation sector through the case study of Spain. A technology-rich, optimisation-based model for power generation in Spain is developed and provided with endogenous life-cycle indicators (climate change, resources, and human health) to assess their evolution to 2050. Prospective performance indicators are analysed under two energy scenarios: a business-as-usual one, and an alternative scenario favouring the role of carbon dioxide capture in the electricity production mix by 2050. Life-cycle impacts are found to decrease substantially when existing fossil technologies disappear in the mix (especially coal thermal power plants). In the long term, the relatively high presence of natural gas arises as the main source of impact. When the installation of new fossil options without CO2 capture is forbidden by 2030, both renewable technologies and—to a lesser extent—fossil technologies with CO2 capture are found to increase their contribution to electricity production. The endogenous integration of life-cycle indicators into energy models proves to boost the usefulness of both life cycle assessment and energy systems modelling in order to support decision- and policy-making. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Techno-Economic Models for Optimised Utilisation of Jatropha curcas Linnaeus under an Out-Grower Farming Scheme in Ghana
Resources 2016, 5(4), 38; doi:10.3390/resources5040038 -
Abstract
Techno-economic models for optimised utilisation of jatropha oil under an out-grower farming scheme were developed based on different considerations for oil and by-product utilisation. Model 1: Out-grower scheme where oil is exported and press cake utilised for compost. Model 2: Out-grower scheme with
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Techno-economic models for optimised utilisation of jatropha oil under an out-grower farming scheme were developed based on different considerations for oil and by-product utilisation. Model 1: Out-grower scheme where oil is exported and press cake utilised for compost. Model 2: Out-grower scheme with six scenarios considered for the utilisation of oil and by-products. Linear programming models were developed based on outcomes of the models to optimise the use of the oil through profit maximisation. The findings revealed that Model 1 was financially viable from the processors’ perspective but not for the farmer at seed price of $0.07/kg. All scenarios considered under Model 2 were financially viable from the processors perspective but not for the farmer at seed price of $0.07/kg; however, at seed price of $0.085/kg, financial viability was achieved for both parties. Optimising the utilisation of the oil resulted in an annual maximum profit of $123,300. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Comparing Approaches for the Integration of Stakeholder Perspectives in Environmental Decision Making
Resources 2016, 5(4), 37; doi:10.3390/resources5040037 -
Abstract
Including stakeholder perspectives in environmental decision making is in many countries a legal requirement and is widely seen as beneficial as it can help increase decision legitimacy, likelihood of implementation, and quality of the outcome. Whereas the theoretical literature on stakeholder engagement is
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Including stakeholder perspectives in environmental decision making is in many countries a legal requirement and is widely seen as beneficial as it can help increase decision legitimacy, likelihood of implementation, and quality of the outcome. Whereas the theoretical literature on stakeholder engagement is large, less attention has been devoted to comparing and discussing different methodological approaches. Here, we compare three approaches—multi-criteria analysis, plural rationality theory, and scenario construction—that include stakeholders’ perspectives in environmental decision making. We find differences between the approaches concerning the assumptions about stakeholder rationality and whether experts and/or stakeholders are in charge of framing the problem. Further differences concern the type of data input from stakeholders and how it is used by the experts, as well as the role of stakeholders and whether they are involved early—already for identifying options—or later in the process, for evaluating or ranking alternatives analyzed by the experts. The choice of approach thus predetermines the type and depth of stakeholder engagement. No approach is “better” than another, but they are suited for different problems and research aims: the choice of the approach, however, has a large impact on the results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Decreasing Ore Grades in Global Metallic Mining: A Theoretical Issue or a Global Reality?
Resources 2016, 5(4), 36; doi:10.3390/resources5040036 -
Abstract
Mining industry requires high amounts of energy to extract and process resources, including a variety of concentration and refining processes. Using energy consumption information, different sustainability issues can be addressed, such as the relationship with ore grade over the years, energy variations in
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Mining industry requires high amounts of energy to extract and process resources, including a variety of concentration and refining processes. Using energy consumption information, different sustainability issues can be addressed, such as the relationship with ore grade over the years, energy variations in electricity or fossil fuel use. A rigorous analysis and understanding of the energy intensity use in mining is the first step towards a more sustainable mining industry and, globally, better resource management. Numerous studies have focused on the energy consumption of mining projects, with analysis carried out primarily in one single country or one single region. This paper quantifies, on a global level, the relationship between ore grade and energy intensity. With the case of copper, the study has shown that the average copper ore grade is decreasing over time, while the energy consumption and the total material production in the mine increases. Analyzing only copper mines, the average ore grade has decreased approximately by 25% in just ten years. In that same period, the total energy consumption has increased at a higher rate than production (46% energy increase over 30% production increase). Full article
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Open AccessReview
Electronic Waste and Existing Processing Routes: A Canadian Perspective
Resources 2016, 5(4), 35; doi:10.3390/resources5040035 -
Abstract
Electrical and electronic products have become an integral part of the current economy and, with the development of newer technologies, the life span of these products are getting shorter. As a consequence, the volume of electronic waste is increasing drastically around the globe.
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Electrical and electronic products have become an integral part of the current economy and, with the development of newer technologies, the life span of these products are getting shorter. As a consequence, the volume of electronic waste is increasing drastically around the globe. With the implementation of new rules, regulations, and policies by the government, the landfilling of electronic waste has been reduced. The presence of valuable metals in the e-waste stream provides a major economic benefit for recycling industries but, due to the presence of hazardous materials, a proper recycling technique is required prior to the disposal of the e-waste. The total e-waste generated in Canada was 725 kt in 2014. There are several organizations currently working in various provinces to deal with the collection and recycling of e-waste. These organizations collected nearly 20% of the total e-waste generated in 2014. The collection rate for e-waste can be boosted by increasing awareness and by creating more centers to collect all kinds of e-waste. The collected e-waste is processed at local processing facilities mostly dealing with dismantling and hazardous material removal processes and then shipping the remaining material to a central location for subsequent processing. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Drivers and Constraints of Critical Materials Recycling: The Case of Indium
Resources 2016, 5(4), 34; doi:10.3390/resources5040034 -
Abstract
Raw material criticality studies are receiving increasing attention because an increasing number of elements of great economic importance, performing essential functions face high supply risks. Scarcity of key materials is a potential barrier to large-scale deployment of sustainable energy and clean-tech technologies as
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Raw material criticality studies are receiving increasing attention because an increasing number of elements of great economic importance, performing essential functions face high supply risks. Scarcity of key materials is a potential barrier to large-scale deployment of sustainable energy and clean-tech technologies as resorting to several critical materials. As physical scarcity and geopolitical issues may present a barrier to the supply of critical metals, recycling is regarded as a possible solution to substitute primary resources for securing the long-term supply of critical metals. In this paper, the main drivers and constraints for critical materials recycling are analyzed from literature, considering indium as a case study of critical materials. This literature review shows that waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) could be a future source of critical metals; however, the reduction of dissipation of critical materials should have much higher priority. It is put forward that more attention should be paid to sustainable management of critical materials, especially improved practices at the waste management stage. This calls for not only more efficient WEEE recycling technologies, but also revising priorities in recycling strategies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Questioning the Status Quo: Can Stakeholder Participation Improve Implementation of Small-Scale Mining Laws in Ghana?
Resources 2016, 5(4), 33; doi:10.3390/resources5040033 -
Abstract
Ghana’s small-scale mining sector faces complex challenges, including environmental degradation and pollution, loss of life and increased health risks, despite several years of implementation of small-scale mining laws. These challenges, generally, are known to have escalated because of illegal small-scale mining, locally known
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Ghana’s small-scale mining sector faces complex challenges, including environmental degradation and pollution, loss of life and increased health risks, despite several years of implementation of small-scale mining laws. These challenges, generally, are known to have escalated because of illegal small-scale mining, locally known as “galamsey”. Despite the illegal status of this category of miners, this paper examines the extent to which stakeholder participation can improve implementation of mining regulations and also address the marginalization of these miners. This paper about stakeholder participation is timely because news reports in mid-2016 mentioned that the Government of Ghana, despite many years of disengagement, is now planning to engage with galamsey operators, in terms of registration, as part of measures to effectively regulate the activities of small-scale miners. Findings from fieldwork indicate that (1) chiefs are seldom consulted in the granting of mining licenses; (2) illegal miners do not participate in the implementation of small-scale mining laws; and (3) stakeholders, such as officers in district mining offices, feel distant from the implementation process. Against the backdrop of these findings, it remains useful to explore the extent to which effective stakeholder participation could help overcome the status quo—particularly its ramifications for both the implementation of ASM laws and the eradication of other underlying challenges the sector faces. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Environmental Impacts of Rare Earth Mining and Separation Based on Eudialyte: A New European Way
Resources 2016, 5(4), 32; doi:10.3390/resources5040032 -
Abstract
Neodymium and dysprosium are two rare earth elements (REEs), out of a group of 17 elements. Due to their unique properties, REEs gained increasing importance in many new technologies, like wind turbines, batteries, etc. However, the production of REEs requires high material and
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Neodymium and dysprosium are two rare earth elements (REEs), out of a group of 17 elements. Due to their unique properties, REEs gained increasing importance in many new technologies, like wind turbines, batteries, etc. However, the production of REEs requires high material and energy consumption and is associated with considerable environmental burdens. Due to the strong dependency of European industry on Chinese REE exports, this paper presents a possible European production chain of REEs based on the mineral eudialyte found in Norra Kärr (Sweden). This European production is compared to a Chinese route, as China produces more than 85% of today’s REEs. Bayan Obo as the largest REE deposit in China is considered as the reference system. Using the life cycle assessment method, the environmental impacts of both production lines are assessed. This study presents newly-estimated data of a possible Swedish eudialyte-based production route for Europe. Results for the new eudialyte process route show reduced environmental burdens, although the total REE content in eudialyte is much smaller than in the Bayan Obo deposit. Especially, the results for dysprosium from eudialyte outreach those for Bayan Obo due to the higher content of heavy rare earth elements. Full article
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