Special Issue "Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology"

Quicklinks

A special issue of Resources (ISSN 2079-9276).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 December 2013)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Damien Giurco

Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, PO Box 123 Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +61295144978
Interests: mining and metals; urban water; backcasting; industrial ecology; life cycle assessment
Guest Editor
Dr. Samantha Sharpe

Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, PO Box 123 Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +61 2 9514 4169
Interests: firm innovation; technology commercialisation; industrial ecology; triple-helix based economic development; science and environmental police
Guest Editor
Dr. Julian Fyfe

Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, PO Box 123 Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +61 2 9514 4969
Interests: resource recovery; industrial ecology; cleaner production; water and wastewater treatment and recycling; monitoring and evaluation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Innovations in production systems and resource management are emerging globally; waste is now treated as a valuable resource, and products, supply chains and business models are being redesigned to harness this opportunity. New wealth is being created by designing for an industrial ecology agenda, which promotes circular flows of resources and seeks to de-couple economic growth and resource use. The Wealth from Waste Special Issue will identify opportunities to derive value from recycling above ground resources in ‘urban mines’, enhanced by the rise of product stewardship legislation in several jurisdictions. Key themes include:

  • Identification of the non-technical barriers to successful recycling and collection systems;
  • Broader barriers and enablers for industrial ecology of metal bearing products?
  • What are the quantities and characteristics of urban waste stocks,
    • what resource value do they represent, and
    • what collection systems are used?
  • What are the potential impacts and benefits of recycling?
  • What innovation and business models are needed to create and capture resource value in future material chains?
  • How will trends in future manufacturing, including distributed and additive manufacturing influence resource recovery outcomes?

Prof. Dr. Damien Giurco
Dr. Samantha Sharpe
Dr. Julian Fyfe
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Resources is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

urban mining; industrial ecology; metals; recycling; futures; manufacturing; production consumption systems

Published Papers (13 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-13
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Quantifying the Recoverable Resources of Companion Metals: A Preliminary Study of Australian Mineral Resources
Resources 2014, 3(4), 657-671; doi:10.3390/resources3040657
Received: 12 December 2013 / Revised: 17 November 2014 / Accepted: 17 November 2014 / Published: 1 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (284 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The long-term availability of mineral resources is crucial in underpinning human society, technology, and economic activity, and in managing anthropogenic environmental impacts. This is increasingly true for metals that do not generally form the primary product of mines (“host” metals), such as copper
[...] Read more.
The long-term availability of mineral resources is crucial in underpinning human society, technology, and economic activity, and in managing anthropogenic environmental impacts. This is increasingly true for metals that do not generally form the primary product of mines (“host” metals), such as copper or iron, but are recovered as by-products (or sometimes co-products during the processing of primary ores). For these “companion” metals, it is therefore useful to develop methodologies to estimate the recoverable resource, i.e., the amount that could, if desired, be extracted and put into use over the next several decades. We describe here a methodological approach to estimating the recoverable resources of companion metals in metal ores, using preliminary data for some particular host/companion pairs in Australia as examples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Transitions in Theory and Practice: Managing Metals in the Circular Economy
Resources 2014, 3(3), 516-543; doi:10.3390/resources3030516
Received: 9 December 2013 / Revised: 11 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 11 July 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (451 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Transitioning from current resource management practice dominated by linear economic models of consumption and production, to circular models of resource use, will require insights into the stages and processes associated with socio-technical transitions. This paper is concerned with transitions in practice. It explores
[...] Read more.
Transitioning from current resource management practice dominated by linear economic models of consumption and production, to circular models of resource use, will require insights into the stages and processes associated with socio-technical transitions. This paper is concerned with transitions in practice. It explores two frameworks within the transitions literature—the multi-level perspective and transition management theory—for practical guidance to inform a deliberate transition in practice. The critical futures literature is proposed as a source of tools and methods to be used in conjunction with the transition frameworks to influence and enable transitions in practice. This enhanced practical guidance for initiating action is applied to a specific context—transitioning the Australian metals sector towards a circular economy model. This particular transition case study is relevant because the vision of a circular economy model of resource management is gaining traction internationally, Australia is significant globally as a supplier of finite mineral resources and it will also be used in a collaborative research project on Wealth from Waste to investigate possibilities for the circular economy and metals recycling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Circular Economy: Questions for Responsible Minerals, Additive Manufacturing and Recycling of Metals
Resources 2014, 3(2), 432-453; doi:10.3390/resources3020432
Received: 10 December 2013 / Revised: 4 March 2014 / Accepted: 21 March 2014 / Published: 6 May 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (277 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept of the circular economy proposes new patterns of production, consumption and use, based on circular flows of resources. Under a scenario where there is a global shift towards the circular economy, this paper discusses the advent of two parallel and yet-to-be-connected
[...] Read more.
The concept of the circular economy proposes new patterns of production, consumption and use, based on circular flows of resources. Under a scenario where there is a global shift towards the circular economy, this paper discusses the advent of two parallel and yet-to-be-connected trends for Australia, namely: (i) responsible minerals supply chains and (ii) additive manufacturing, also known as 3D production systems. Acknowledging the current context for waste management, the paper explores future interlinked questions which arise in the circular economy for responsible supply chains, additive manufacturing, and metals recycling. For example, where do mined and recycled resources fit in responsible supply chains as inputs to responsible production? What is required to ensure 3D production systems are resource efficient? How could more distributed models of production, enabled by additive manufacturing, change the geographical scale at which it is economic or desirable to close the loop? Examples are given to highlight the need for an integrated research agenda to address these questions and to foster Australian opportunities in the circular economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Understanding the Dynamic Character of Value in Recycling Metals from Australia
Resources 2014, 3(2), 416-431; doi:10.3390/resources3020416
Received: 9 December 2013 / Revised: 6 March 2014 / Accepted: 20 March 2014 / Published: 15 April 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (324 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Industrial ecology (IE) argues the need for an efficient materials economy based on recycling where environmental degradation associated with inputs of new materials and outputs of waste or pollution is minimal. There is often an assumption that efficiency in the use of materials
[...] Read more.
Industrial ecology (IE) argues the need for an efficient materials economy based on recycling where environmental degradation associated with inputs of new materials and outputs of waste or pollution is minimal. There is often an assumption that efficiency in the use of materials equates to economic efficiency; however, this is not necessarily the case. Central to this tension between engineering and economic approaches to materials efficiency are different conceptual framings of value. Because a large scale shift towards valuing waste materials as future resources involves changes to existing practices of a great many actors and organizations, ranging from consumers and household disposal practices, through to government agencies and multi-national corporations, it cannot be assumed that all operate with similar conceptions of value. This paper reviews current understandings of value in IE and argues that they need to be expanded to accommodate approaches to valuing used goods and materials that manifest across different spatial scales, from household disposal practices to national policy to global production networks (GPNs). The paper focuses, in particular, on understandings of value relevant to metals recycling in Australia and contrast material flow models from IE with other models of material flows and transformations available in the social sciences, including anthropological analysis of the movement of objects through different regimes of value within society and analysis in economic geography that highlights spatial and structural dimensions influential in commodity chains and networks for used products and materials. It concludes by reflecting on the significance of the dynamic and creative tensions inherent in the production of value for recycled metals from Australia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle An Analysis of Regulatory Strategies for Recycling and Re-Use of Metals in Australia
Resources 2014, 3(2), 395-415; doi:10.3390/resources3020395
Received: 15 January 2014 / Revised: 19 March 2014 / Accepted: 1 April 2014 / Published: 14 April 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (284 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article considers regulatory strategies that promote more efficient use of material inputs within the Australian economy, with particular focus on recycling and recovery of metals, drawing upon the concept of a “circular economy”. It briefly reviews the nature of regulation and trends
[...] Read more.
This article considers regulatory strategies that promote more efficient use of material inputs within the Australian economy, with particular focus on recycling and recovery of metals, drawing upon the concept of a “circular economy”. It briefly reviews the nature of regulation and trends in regulatory strategies within changing policy contexts, and then examines the regulatory framework applicable to the various phases in the life cycle of metals, ranging from extraction of minerals to processing and assimilation of metals into finished products, through to eventual disposal of products as waste. Discussion focuses upon the regulatory strategies applied in each phase and the changing roles of government and business operators within global distribution networks. It is concluded that the prevailing political agenda favoring deregulation and reduced taxation may be a major barrier to development of new styles of regulation and more effective use of taxation powers that is needed to support a more circular economy in metals. The implication for future research is the need to substantiate the outcomes of reflexive regulatory strategies with well-designed empirical studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle The Status of Industrial Ecology in Australia: Barriers and Enablers
Resources 2014, 3(2), 340-361; doi:10.3390/resources3020340
Received: 9 December 2013 / Revised: 12 February 2014 / Accepted: 12 March 2014 / Published: 25 March 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (268 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Drawing on current international industrial ecology thinking and experiences with Australian initiatives, this article critically overviews the current status of industrial ecology in Australia and examines the barriers and potential strategies to realise greater uptake and application of the concept. The analysis is
[...] Read more.
Drawing on current international industrial ecology thinking and experiences with Australian initiatives, this article critically overviews the current status of industrial ecology in Australia and examines the barriers and potential strategies to realise greater uptake and application of the concept. The analysis is conducted across three categories: heavy industrial areas (including Kwinana and Gladstone), mixed industrial parks (Wagga Wagga and Port Melbourne), and waste exchange networks, and identifies the past and future significance of seven different types of barriers—regulation, information, community, economic, technical, cooperation and trust, commitment to sustainable development—for each of the three categories. The outcomes from this analysis highlight that regulation, information, and economic barriers for heavy industrial area and mixed industrial parks, and economic and technical barriers for waste exchange networks are the current and future focus for industrial ecology applications in Australia. These findings appear to be consistent with recently published frameworks and learnings. The authors propose key questions that could enhance greater adoption of industrial ecology applications in Australia and acknowledge that international research and experiences, while partly providing answers to these questions, need to be adapted and refined for the Australian context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Strengthening Industrial Ecology’s Links with Business Studies: Insights and Potential Contributions from the Innovation and Business Models Literature
Resources 2014, 3(2), 362-382; doi:10.3390/resources3020362
Received: 12 December 2013 / Revised: 12 March 2014 / Accepted: 12 March 2014 / Published: 25 March 2014
PDF Full-text (283 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The declining availability of natural resources and the environmental impacts of continued extraction of primary resources for production activities have forced greater focus on waste streams and recycling activities. Industrial ecology as a field of practice and theory has been closely related to
[...] Read more.
The declining availability of natural resources and the environmental impacts of continued extraction of primary resources for production activities have forced greater focus on waste streams and recycling activities. Industrial ecology as a field of practice and theory has been closely related to sustainability issues, yet despite the development of much theory and specific tools and methodologies, the link between natural, industrial and economic systems is not convincing. Not only that, the need for delivering sustainable production and consumption practices is increasing, which is demanding new solutions to existing problems, particularly around the degree of novelty. The interaction of industrial ecology with business studies and industrial investment decision-making remains under-developed, and this is likely impacting on the adoption of more sustainable and resource-efficient practices. As such, this paper uses a constructive approach and explores how two areas of the literature can support the development of the industrial ecology field into strategic business practice: firstly, the innovation literature, particularly the emerging work on open innovation and sustainable innovation as a model to understand radical innovation processes and the creation and maintenance of networked systems of firms; secondly, the closely related area of business model (BM) innovation, specifically the emerging typologies of sustainable BMs and how these typologies can be developed and used as a route to positioning recycling activities at the strategic management level of the firm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Recycling Potentials of Critical Metals-Analyzing Secondary Flows from Selected Applications
Resources 2014, 3(1), 291-318; doi:10.3390/resources3010291
Received: 4 January 2014 / Revised: 17 February 2014 / Accepted: 24 February 2014 / Published: 14 March 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (540 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Metal mobilization in general, as well as the number of metals used in products to increase performance and provide sometimes unique functionalities, has increased steadily in the past decades. Materials, such as indium, gallium, platinum group metals (PGM), and rare earths (RE), are
[...] Read more.
Metal mobilization in general, as well as the number of metals used in products to increase performance and provide sometimes unique functionalities, has increased steadily in the past decades. Materials, such as indium, gallium, platinum group metals (PGM), and rare earths (RE), are used ever more frequently in high-tech applications and their criticality as a function of economic importance and supply risks has been highlighted in various studies. Nevertheless, recycling rates are often below one percent. Against this background, secondary flows of critical metals from three different end-of-life products up to 2020 are modeled and losses along the products’ end-of-life (EOL) chain are identified. Two established applications of PGM and RE–industrial catalysts and thermal barrier coatings–and CIGS photovoltaic cells as a relatively new product have been analyzed. In addition to a quantification of future EOL flows, the analysis showed that a relatively well working recycling system exists for PGM-bearing catalysts, while a complete loss of critical metals occurs for the other applications. The reasons include a lack of economic incentives, technologically caused material dissipation and other technological challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Towards Responsible Steel: Preliminary Insights
Resources 2014, 3(1), 275-290; doi:10.3390/resources3010275
Received: 9 December 2013 / Revised: 14 February 2014 / Accepted: 21 February 2014 / Published: 10 March 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1066 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines the structures and processes underpinning the attempt of the Australian steel industry to establish a certification scheme for Responsible Steel. We take it as a case example of how collective action and collaboration along a supply chain has the potential
[...] Read more.
This paper examines the structures and processes underpinning the attempt of the Australian steel industry to establish a certification scheme for Responsible Steel. We take it as a case example of how collective action and collaboration along a supply chain has the potential to be a win-win situation for the environment and for the competitiveness of an industry sector. The paper identifies the drivers that have prompted key stakeholders from all major sectors of the Australian steel product life cycle from mining through steel manufacturing, processing, product fabrication, use and re-use, and recycling to collaborate in the establishment of the Steel Stewardship Forum (SSF), the structure established to lead the development of the certification scheme. The development of this initiative is indicative of the wider shift to sustainability-related certification schemes as a means of garnering legitimacy and market advantage and provides detailed insights into both the drivers for and the challenges associated with such initiatives. Findings from the paper contribute to our understanding of the shift to sustainable supply chains as it is interpreted through institutional and institutional entrepreneurship theory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Business Model Innovation to Create and Capture Resource Value in Future Circular Material Chains
Resources 2014, 3(1), 248-274; doi:10.3390/resources3010248
Received: 19 January 2014 / Revised: 12 February 2014 / Accepted: 18 February 2014 / Published: 6 March 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1883 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article briefly discusses the origins and development of the business model concept resulting in a high level definition. Against this backdrop, frameworks from the literature around green business models with examples of green business models and the business model innovation process are
[...] Read more.
This article briefly discusses the origins and development of the business model concept resulting in a high level definition. Against this backdrop, frameworks from the literature around green business models with examples of green business models and the business model innovation process are presented. The article then discusses the origins and meaning of different "green" concepts relevant for the circular value chain concluding with a high level definition. The article finally outline the process by which a business model for a circular value chain can be developed taking into account the social dilemma that exist in these type of situations. The article concludes with the specific questions that need to be answered in order to create an appropriate business model for a circular value chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle GIS and Urban Mining
Resources 2014, 3(1), 235-247; doi:10.3390/resources3010235
Received: 5 December 2013 / Revised: 22 February 2014 / Accepted: 24 February 2014 / Published: 3 March 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (612 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Geographical information systems (GIS) are a kind of location intelligence technology that supports systematic collection, integration, analysis and sharing of spatial data. They provide an effective tool for characterising and visualising geographical distributions of recyclable resources or materials dispersed across urban environments in
[...] Read more.
Geographical information systems (GIS) are a kind of location intelligence technology that supports systematic collection, integration, analysis and sharing of spatial data. They provide an effective tool for characterising and visualising geographical distributions of recyclable resources or materials dispersed across urban environments in what may be described as “urban mines”. As logistics can be a key barrier to recycling, GIS are critical for capturing and analysing location intelligence about the distribution and values of recyclable resources and associated collection systems to effectively empower and inform the policy makers and the broader community with comprehensive, accurate and accessible information. This paper reviews the functionality of modern GIS, discusses the potential role of GIS in urban mining studies, and describes how GIS can be used to measure, report, analyse and visualise the spatial or geographical characteristics of dispersed stocks of recyclable waste and their collection and recovery systems. Such information can then be used to model material flows and assess the social and environmental impacts of urban mining. Issues and challenges in the use of GIS for urban mining are also to be addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Social and Environmental Impact of the Rare Earth Industries
Resources 2014, 3(1), 123-134; doi:10.3390/resources3010123
Received: 18 December 2013 / Revised: 29 January 2014 / Accepted: 6 February 2014 / Published: 13 February 2014
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (562 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of rare earth elements in various technologies continues to grow despite some alternatives being found for particular uses. Given a history of ecological concerns about pollution from rare earth mines, particularly in China, there are growing social and environmental concerns about
[...] Read more.
The use of rare earth elements in various technologies continues to grow despite some alternatives being found for particular uses. Given a history of ecological concerns about pollution from rare earth mines, particularly in China, there are growing social and environmental concerns about the growth of the mining and mineral processing in this sector. This is best exemplified by the recent social and environmental conflict surrounding the development of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Kuantan, Malaysia which led to international activism and claims of environmental and social injustice. This paper analyses the structure of environmental and social conflicts surrounding rare earth minerals and opportunities for improving the social and environmental performance of the sector. Many of these elements are used for green technologies. Opportunities exist that offer a more circular supply chain following industrial ecological principles through which reuse and recycling of the materials can provide a means of mitigating social and environmental conflicts in this sector. In addition, public engagement processes that recognize community concerns about radiation, and transparent scientifically predicated decision-making through an appropriate governance structure within regulatory organizations are also presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Metal Extraction Processes for Electronic Waste and Existing Industrial Routes: A Review and Australian Perspective
Resources 2014, 3(1), 152-179; doi:10.3390/resources3010152
Received: 11 December 2013 / Revised: 24 January 2014 / Accepted: 5 February 2014 / Published: 19 February 2014
Cited by 34 | PDF Full-text (1641 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The useful life of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) has been shortened as a consequence of the advancement in technology and change in consumer patterns. This has resulted in the generation of large quantities of electronic waste (e-waste) that needs to be managed.
[...] Read more.
The useful life of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) has been shortened as a consequence of the advancement in technology and change in consumer patterns. This has resulted in the generation of large quantities of electronic waste (e-waste) that needs to be managed. The handling of e-waste including combustion in incinerators, disposing in landfill or exporting overseas is no longer permitted due to environmental pollution and global legislations. Additionally, the presence of precious metals (PMs) makes e-waste recycling attractive economically. In this paper, current metallurgical processes for the extraction of metals from e-waste, including existing industrial routes, are reviewed. In the first part of this paper, the definition, composition and classifications of e-wastes are described. In the second part, separation of metals from e-waste using mechanical processing, hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical routes are critically analyzed. Pyrometallurgical routes are comparatively economical and eco-efficient if the hazardous emissions are controlled. Currently, pyrometallurgical routes are used initially for the segregation and upgrading of PMs (gold and silver) into base metals (BMs) (copper, lead and nickel) and followed by hydrometallurgical and electrometallurgical processing for the recovery of pure base and PMs. For the recycling of e-waste in Australia, challenges such as collection, transportation, liberation of metal fractions, and installation of integrated smelting and refining facilities are identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Figures

Journal Contact

MDPI AG
Resources Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
resources@mdpi.com
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
Contact Details Submit to Resources
Back to Top