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Article

Is Recycling Always the Best Option? Environmental Assessment of Recycling of Seashell as Aggregates in Noise Barriers

1
Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Escuela de Prevención de Riesgos y Medioambiente, Universidad Católica del Norte, Larrondo 1281, Coquimbo 1780000, Chile
2
Departamento de Ingeniería Química y Ambiental, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería, Universidad de Sevilla, Camino de los Descubrimientos s/n, 41092 Seville, Spain
3
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester, Pariser Building, Sackville Street, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Processes 2020, 8(7), 776; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8070776
Received: 5 June 2020 / Revised: 26 June 2020 / Accepted: 28 June 2020 / Published: 2 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas, Water and Solid Waste Treatment Technology)
Waste recycling is an essential part of waste management. The concrete industry allows the use of large quantities of waste as a substitute for a conventional raw material without sacrificing the technical properties of the product. From a circular economy point of view, this is an excellent opportunity for waste recycling. Nevertheless, in some cases, the recycling process can be undesirable because it does not involve a net saving in resource consumption or other environmental impacts when compared to the conventional production process. In this study, the environmental performance of conventional absorption porous barriers, composed of 86 wt % of natural aggregates and 14 wt % cement, was compared with barriers composed of 80 wt % seashell waste and 20 wt % cement through an attributional cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment. The results show that, for the 11 environmental impact categories considered, the substitution of the natural aggregates with seashell waste involves higher environmental impacts, between 32% and 267%. These results are justified by the high contribution to these impacts of the seashell waste pre-treatment and the higher cement consumption. Therefore, the recycling of seashells in noise barrier manufacturing is not justified from an environmental standpoint with the current conditions. In this sense, it could be concluded that life cycle assessments should be carried out simultaneously with the technical development of the recycling process to ensure a sustainable solution. View Full-Text
Keywords: life cycle assessment; circular economy; environmental sustainability; mollusk shell; porous concrete; construction life cycle assessment; circular economy; environmental sustainability; mollusk shell; porous concrete; construction
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MDPI and ACS Style

Peceño, B.; Leiva, C.; Alonso-Fariñas, B.; Gallego-Schmid, A. Is Recycling Always the Best Option? Environmental Assessment of Recycling of Seashell as Aggregates in Noise Barriers. Processes 2020, 8, 776. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8070776

AMA Style

Peceño B, Leiva C, Alonso-Fariñas B, Gallego-Schmid A. Is Recycling Always the Best Option? Environmental Assessment of Recycling of Seashell as Aggregates in Noise Barriers. Processes. 2020; 8(7):776. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8070776

Chicago/Turabian Style

Peceño, Begoña, Carlos Leiva, Bernabé Alonso-Fariñas, and Alejandro Gallego-Schmid. 2020. "Is Recycling Always the Best Option? Environmental Assessment of Recycling of Seashell as Aggregates in Noise Barriers" Processes 8, no. 7: 776. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8070776

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