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Resources, Volume 11, Issue 5 (May 2022) – 12 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Textile industries are in the spotlight due to the heavy environmental impacts along their products’ life cycle, and at the same time, they are a priority sector in the new circular economy action plan of the European Commission. In this framework, the Italian company Manteco SpA has developed a value chain based on the recycling of pre- and post-consumer discarded textiles, whose output is a secondary wool fiber named MWool®. This study develops an environmental analysis of recycled wool fibers through the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology, and a parallel LCA is developed on virgin wool fiber. From the study, it emerged that recycled wool fibers can save about 60% of the impacts of virgin fibers. View this paper
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Retraction
Retraction: Morley et al. A Database for the Extraction, Trade, and Use of Sand and Gravel. Resources 2022, 11, 38
Resources 2022, 11(5), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050050 - 20 May 2022
Viewed by 587
Abstract
The published article [...] Full article
Article
Elastic Wave Propagation in a Stainless-Steel Standard and Verification of a COMSOL Multiphysics Numerical Elastic Wave Toolbox
Resources 2022, 11(5), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050049 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 635
Abstract
Laboratory-based elastic wave measurements are commonly used to quantify the seismic properties of Earth’s crust and upper mantle. Different types of laboratory apparatuses are available for such measurements, simulating seismic properties at different pressure and temperature. To complement such laboratory measurements, we present [...] Read more.
Laboratory-based elastic wave measurements are commonly used to quantify the seismic properties of Earth’s crust and upper mantle. Different types of laboratory apparatuses are available for such measurements, simulating seismic properties at different pressure and temperature. To complement such laboratory measurements, we present a numerical toolbox to investigate the seismic properties of rock samples. The numerical model is benchmarked against experimental results from a multi-anvil apparatus, using measurements of a stainless steel calibration standard. Measured values of the mean compressional- and shear-wave velocities at room conditions of the steel block were 6.03 km/s and 3.26 km/s, respectively. Calculated numerical results predicted 6.12 km/s and 3.30 km/s for compressional and shear-wave velocities. Subsequently, we measured Vp and Vs up to 600 MPa hydrostatic confining pressure and 600 °C. These measurements, at pressure and temperature, were then used as the basis to predict numerical wave speeds. There is, in general, good agreement between measurement and predicted numerical results. The numerical method presented in this study serves as a flexible toolbox, allowing for the easy setup of different model geometries and composite materials. Full article
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Review
Trends and Opportunities of Bivalve Shells’ Waste Valorization in a Prospect of Circular Blue Bioeconomy
Resources 2022, 11(5), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050048 - 13 May 2022
Viewed by 2234
Abstract
Bivalves aquaculture is already considered a very sustainable for of food production and might become an essential pillar on which to develop future global food security. However, with the increase in production, a correspondingly great amount of waste will be produced all around [...] Read more.
Bivalves aquaculture is already considered a very sustainable for of food production and might become an essential pillar on which to develop future global food security. However, with the increase in production, a correspondingly great amount of waste will be produced all around the earth, principally in the form of shells, which can represent up to 90% of the fresh mollusk weight. Nowadays, shell waste has no notable use and is commonly regarded as waste, often dumped in landfill, or thrown back into the sea, causing a significant level of environmental concern, and resulting in a loss of natural and valuable resources. Bivalve shells are mainly formed by CaCO3, giving them the potential to become a promising secondary raw material for several applications, from a circular economy perspective. This paper aims to review the scientific literature of the last twenty years and the principal recent trends in shell waste reuse, describing applications that are already in place on a large scale in agriculture and livestock, soils, water and wastewater remediation, biodiesel production and biofilters, as well as niche applications that now simply have the potential to be scaled up. Full article
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Article
The Ratio of Biologically Vital Areas as a Measure of the Sustainability of Urban Parks Using the Example of Budapest, Hungary
Resources 2022, 11(5), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050047 - 11 May 2022
Viewed by 732
Abstract
Biologically vital areas (BVAs) indicate regions with ecological functions within cities. Their presence in green spaces helps to counteract the negative impacts of built-up areas and impermeable structures on urban environments and city dwellers. The main objective of this study was to examine [...] Read more.
Biologically vital areas (BVAs) indicate regions with ecological functions within cities. Their presence in green spaces helps to counteract the negative impacts of built-up areas and impermeable structures on urban environments and city dwellers. The main objective of this study was to examine the level of sustainability of urban parks based on their real ratio of biologically vital areas (RBVA). The preliminary research was conducted in 2021 on six randomly selected parks in Budapest, Hungary, which are examples either of site rehabilitation or of new designs based on a sustainable approach. The areas of the main types of landcover with ecological functions, such as greenery planted on the ground, green roofs, permeable pavement, and water reservoirs, were measured and compared to the area of hard structures as well as the entire area of each park. The results show that the RBVA was below 50% in four of the six studied cases (ranging from 22.97% in MOM Park to 44.13% in Millenáris Park) and above 50% in two cases (51.52% in Graphisoft Park and 79.31% in Nehru Park). This diversity resulted from the need to reconcile ecological and social functions in urban parks; however, the implementation of sustainable solutions should be increased in further development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resources of Urban Green Spaces and Sustainable Development)
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Article
The Key to Sustainable Economic Development: A Triple Bottom Line Approach
Resources 2022, 11(5), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050046 - 10 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 765
Abstract
Concerns about improving social, environmental, and economic living standards are the basis of the triple bottom line (TBL) link to economic development (ED). Aware of the importance of studying their relationship, this article analysed the influence of TBL on ED. A quantitative methodology [...] Read more.
Concerns about improving social, environmental, and economic living standards are the basis of the triple bottom line (TBL) link to economic development (ED). Aware of the importance of studying their relationship, this article analysed the influence of TBL on ED. A quantitative methodology was used. The sample comprised a panel of data from 2006 to 2019 for OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. Five multiple linear regression models were estimated by the generalised method of moments. The results of this study revealed that the social dimension of TBL boosts ED, the environmental dimension of TBL slows down ED, and the economic dimension of TBL contains conflicting synergies in ED. The Human Development Index (HDI) should now include indicators of environmental wellbeing. Governments should adopt policies to improve social wellbeing to boost ED, work to coordinate the objectives of environmental protection and ED, and combat vulnerabilities arising from public debt. As one of the first studies to assess the influence of TBL on ED at the country level, the present findings contribute to the reflection about the influence of TBL on a country’s ED and strengthens the discussion around the influence of different dimensions of TBL. Full article
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Article
Understanding the Socio-Demographic Profile of Waste Re-Users in a Suburban Setting in South Africa
Resources 2022, 11(5), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050045 - 10 May 2022
Viewed by 640
Abstract
Minimising waste through re-use thereof is the third tier of the waste minimisation hierarchy. Understanding the socio-demographic profile of waste re-users can assist in developing effective waste minimisation strategies and programmes. The objective of this paper was to understand the socio-demographic profile of [...] Read more.
Minimising waste through re-use thereof is the third tier of the waste minimisation hierarchy. Understanding the socio-demographic profile of waste re-users can assist in developing effective waste minimisation strategies and programmes. The objective of this paper was to understand the socio-demographic profile of waste re-users and determine whether this affected their re-use activities and pro-environmental behaviour (PEB). This was a cross-sectional study conducted in three randomly selected suburbs in Gauteng, South Africa (n = 150). The data was retrieved using a questionnaire and multivariate analysis using a MAONVA test was conducted to assess which factors were associated with PEB and waste re-use. Women re-used plastic containers more than males and homeowners re-used glass jars more than tenants. The level of education had no significant bearing on specific re-use activities. Multivariate analysis results indicate that gender, age groups and type/status of homeownership played a significant role in statements that negatively influence waste re-use. Based on the results of this study, the best candidates for re-use activities and PEB in suburban communities in South Africa are women homeowners aged between 31 and 50 years. Full article
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Article
Societal Evaluation of Bioeconomy Scenarios for Germany
Resources 2022, 11(5), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050044 - 05 May 2022
Viewed by 650
Abstract
Transitioning to a bio-based economy is widely perceived as a necessary way to tackle climate change and other key environmental challenges. Given the major socio-economic consequences that such a transition entails for people’s everyday lives, it is crucial to take account of citizens’ [...] Read more.
Transitioning to a bio-based economy is widely perceived as a necessary way to tackle climate change and other key environmental challenges. Given the major socio-economic consequences that such a transition entails for people’s everyday lives, it is crucial to take account of citizens’ perceptions and levels of acceptance of these changes. This study applies a holistic approach to gain an understanding of how citizens in Germany assess possible developments associated with transitioning to a bioeconomy. We developed three future scenarios modelling the impacts on people’s day-to-day lives of adopting different elements of a bioeconomy and of replacing fossil resources with biogenic resources to a lesser or greater extent by 2050. German citizens were asked to evaluate the different scenarios through a quantitative online survey. Although the respondents largely preferred the scenario of “Bioeconomy Change” entailing the most substantial changes in resource use, many also expressed concerns about the possible negative socio-economic effects of this scenario, including fears of increased product prices, declining living standards, and greater social injustice. The results show that younger people and women are more in favour of changes towards a bioeconomy than men and older people. Since the acceptance of bio-technical innovations increases with greater knowledge about such innovations and their usefulness, the transformation process must make use of sound communication strategies that involve all societal groups by engaging them in constructive dialogue. Full article
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Article
Activated Carbons from Hydrothermal Carbonization and Chemical Activation of Olive Stones: Application in Sulfamethoxazole Adsorption
Resources 2022, 11(5), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050043 - 28 Apr 2022
Viewed by 754
Abstract
This work focuses on the production of activated carbons by hydrothermal carbonization of olive stones at 220 °C, followed by chemical activation with KOH, FeCl3 and H3PO4 of the hydrochar obtained. In addition, N-doped hydrochars were also obtained by [...] Read more.
This work focuses on the production of activated carbons by hydrothermal carbonization of olive stones at 220 °C, followed by chemical activation with KOH, FeCl3 and H3PO4 of the hydrochar obtained. In addition, N-doped hydrochars were also obtained by performing the hydrothermal carbonization process with the addition of (NH4)2SO4. All hydrochars, N-doped and non-doped, showed low BET surface areas (4–18 m2 g−1). Activated hydrochars prepared using H3PO4 or KOH as activating agents presented BET surface areas of 1115 and 2122 m2 g−1, respectively, and those prepared from N-doped hydrochar showed BET surface area values between 1116 and 2048 m2 g−1 with an important contribution of mesoporosity (0.55–1.24 cm3 g−1). The preparation procedure also derived inactivated hydrochars with predominantly acidic or basic groups on their surface. The resulting materials were tested in the adsorption of sulfamethoxazole in water. The adsorption capacity depended on both the porous texture and the electrostatic interactions between the adsorbent and the adsorbate. The adsorption equilibrium data (20 °C) fitted fairly well to the Langmuir equation, and even better to the Freundlich equation, resulting in the non-doped hydrochar activated with the KOH as the best adsorbent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Nutrient Recovery by Hydrothermal Treatments)
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Article
Managerial Issues Regarding the Role of Natural Gas in the Transition of Energy and the Impact of Natural Gas Consumption on the GDP of Selected Countries
Resources 2022, 11(5), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050042 - 26 Apr 2022
Viewed by 900
Abstract
Natural gas is considered an important bridge in the transition of energy in the world. However, the development and management of unconventional gas now face many challenges. This paper aims to provide an overview of what would be required to formulate and implement [...] Read more.
Natural gas is considered an important bridge in the transition of energy in the world. However, the development and management of unconventional gas now face many challenges. This paper aims to provide an overview of what would be required to formulate and implement the trend of energy transition and natural gas use in the world. Selected managerial issues regarding the role of natural gas are presented, including chosen statistical data on natural gas consumption, forecasts for the demand for natural gas, and the potential of unconventional gas. The empirical part of the study examines the impact of natural gas consumption on the GDP of 14 G20 countries during the period of 1994 to 2018. The pooled mean group model (PMG) is employed in this study. Based on the cointegration test results, it was found that natural gas consumption and population have a long-run relationship with CO2 emissions. Consistent with other studies, we found a positive relationship between CO2 emissions and natural gas consumption, GDP, and population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Making in Resources Management: Problems, Methods and Tools)
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Article
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of MWool® Recycled Wool Fibers
Resources 2022, 11(5), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050041 - 20 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1060
Abstract
Textile industries are in the spotlight due to the heavy environmental impacts along their products’ life cycle and, at the same time, they are a priority sector in the new circular economy action plan of the European Commission. In this framework, the Italian [...] Read more.
Textile industries are in the spotlight due to the heavy environmental impacts along their products’ life cycle and, at the same time, they are a priority sector in the new circular economy action plan of the European Commission. In this framework, the Italian company Manteco SpA has developed a value chain based on the recycling of pre- and post-consumer discarded textiles, wh0se output is a secondary wool fiber named MWool®. This study develops an environmental analysis of recycled wool fibers through the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, mainly using primary data. A parallel LCA is developed of virgin wool fiber, mostly based on literature data. Sensitivity analyses have been carried out: (i) to capture the uncertainty associated with virgin fibers’ impacts and (ii) to evaluate how MWool® impacts vary according to the origin and treatment of recycled textiles. Finally, the Circular Footprint Formula (CFF) has been applied to consider also a possible decay in quality typically affecting recycled fibers. Results show that recycled wool fibers have significantly lower environmental impacts than virgin fibers, even when the most unfavorable scenarios are considered. As climate change is concerned, 1 kg of MWool® has a carbon footprint of 0.1–0.9 kg CO2 eq., while producing virgin fibers releases 10–103 kg CO2 eq. Using the CFF, it emerges that recycled wool fibers can save about 60% of the impacts of virgin fibers. This study contributes to filling data gaps regarding LCAs applied to the textile sector, which is more and more in the spotlight and needs to address these environmental issues. Full article
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Article
Growth Development, Physiological Status and Water Footprint Assessment of Nursery Young Olive Trees (Olea europaea L. ‘Konservolea’) Irrigated with Urban Treated Wastewater
Resources 2022, 11(5), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050040 - 19 Apr 2022
Viewed by 894
Abstract
Application of urban treated wastewater (TWW) has been practiced globally as an alternative irrigation water source in areas where access to safe and abundant freshwater is limited. Water footprint (WF) has been employed over the last decades as a tool for the assessment [...] Read more.
Application of urban treated wastewater (TWW) has been practiced globally as an alternative irrigation water source in areas where access to safe and abundant freshwater is limited. Water footprint (WF) has been employed over the last decades as a tool for the assessment of the sustainable management of water resources. In the present study, the suitability of TWW for the irrigation of nursery young olive trees (Olea europaea L. ‘Konservolea’), one of the main table olive cultivars in Greece, the second global table olive exporter, was tested and compared to tap water irrigation and application of zeolite on soil. Plant growth and physiological parameters and stress indicators were measured. Additionally, a WF assessment was performed, distinguishing TWW from freshwater (blue water) resources in order to examine the possibility of minimizing the environmental impact through the limitation of freshwater use. Plants irrigated with TWW performed better in most of the growth and physiological parameters measured compared to the other treatments. Stress indicators revealed that TWW did not induce any additional stress. TWW could be used as an irrigation water source for young olive trees for at least a short period during their growth as a safe and sustainable alternate of blue water resources. Additionally, the WF assessment showed that the application of TWW could be a significant blue water saving measure. Full article
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Article
The Role of Mineral Raw Materials Education in a Social License to Operate—A Case of Poland
Resources 2022, 11(5), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources11050039 - 19 Apr 2022
Viewed by 709
Abstract
The Social License to Operate (SLO), understood as the consent of a wide group of stakeholders to mining activities, has become an important element in the process of obtaining a mining license in recent years. Such a pattern of increasing importance is common, [...] Read more.
The Social License to Operate (SLO), understood as the consent of a wide group of stakeholders to mining activities, has become an important element in the process of obtaining a mining license in recent years. Such a pattern of increasing importance is common, both in Poland and throughout the EU. Therefore, it should be of key importance to prevent society’s reluctance to this industry. The article indicates that a very important tool in this matter should be reliable and knowledge-based raw materials education, carried out as early as at the stage of school education. Deficiencies in this respect were revealed through a survey conducted among children and youth up to 15 years of age. The results of the survey were discussed in the context of the development of raw materials education in Poland, which results indicate should focus on emphasizing the benefits of mining, both in terms of the general public and individuals. Shaping and strengthening the mineral raw materials awareness of the inhabitants of Poland is also of key importance for the implementation of standards for the protection of mineral deposits and ensuring the country’s resource security. Full article
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