Special Issue "Management of the Circular Economy in the Productive Sectors: Innovative Practices for a More Sustainable World"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Luis Jesús Belmonte-Ureña
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Agronomy, Universidad de Almería, 04120 La Cañada de San Urbano, Almería, Spain
2. ERASME - Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Sustainability, Polytech Clermont, 63170 Aubière, France
Interests: circular economy; agronomy; environmental economics; agricultural waste management; development economics; agricultural profitability; Sustainable Development Goals
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Emilio Abad-Segura
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics and Business, University of Almeria, 04120 Almeria, Spain
Interests: financial accounting; network science; data science; sustainable finance; data analysis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Valentin Molina-Moreno
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management-1, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
Interests: circular economy; corporate social responsibility
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The management of the circular economy, as a comprehensive approach to regenerative economic development, has as its main objective to reduce the growth of the consumption of finite resources. Among its principles, it seeks to preserve and improve natural capital and optimize the use of resources, in addition to eliminating negative externalities. The circular model in the productive sectors of the economy, that is, one that includes the real activities such as agriculture, industry and services, proposes to minimize the amount of external inputs for production and reduce the impacts negative effects on the environment.

For example, in this context, agriculture offers a multitude of options, such as primary production using precision agriculture techniques, recycling, or the use of agricultural waste and materials. The innovative practices of circular economy in this sector must assume the criteria of: (i) relevance; (ii) integrity and clarity of the information; (iii) practical nature of the expected results; and (iv) behavioral and educational contribution/added value. Implementation through innovative processes or the establishment of new circular models or financing opportunities will add value to this particular approach to the economy in the primary sector. Among the opportunities to change from the linear to the circular model, this sector will focus on the reuse of water; to carry out precision agriculture to generate a minimum environmental impact; to use biofertilizer and thus increase productivity and sustainability; and to the use of energy produced from biomass, such as energy crops, agricultural and forestry waste and byproducts, or microbial biomass. In other sectors, innovative practices within the framework of the circular economy help enterprises to maintain a strategic position within the sustainability context, making innovation reach all active parts of its productive process.

In 2015, the UN approved the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, defining the SDGs to globally develop the dimensions of sustainability (economic, social and environmental), where the circular economy is located at the intersection of this triple balance. The development of the good practices of the circular economy should focus on the achievement of the SDGs and contribute to the sustainable reorientation of countries. In this regard, fossil fuel pollutants will be replaced in energy production by new resources and alternative sources of energy (SDG 7); resources will be used more efficiently and the application of clean, environmentally sound and responsible technologies and processes will be promoted (SDG 9); and be will make efficient use of natural resources, in addition to promoting reduction of waste generation (SDG 12).

This special issue seeks original research that addresses the analysis of circular economy strategies in relation to good practices, innovative processes and relevant cases on learning from experience, in relation to the SDGs. Articles can also focus on the study of environmental limits, critical drivers, opportunities for innovation and technology and social transfer, and institutions driving relevant initiatives for good practices in the productive sectors for the circular economy.

Hence, articles are welcome to examine global circular economy strategies in the productive sectors in relation to the development of innovative practices, highlighting the integrity and clarity of the information, the practicality of the expected results, awareness and educational components.

Prof. Dr. Luis Jesús Belmonte-Ureña
Dr. Emilio Abad-Segura
Dr. Valentin Molina Moreno
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • circular economy
  • bioeconomy
  • waste management
  • sustainable development
  • new technologies
  • corporate social responsibility
  • productive sectors
  • open innovation
  • sustainable development goals

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
The Management of Agriculture Plastic Waste in the Framework of Circular Economy. Case of the Almeria Greenhouse (Spain)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(22), 12042; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182212042 - 16 Nov 2021
Viewed by 321
Abstract
In recent decades, ecosystems have suffered diverse environmental impacts caused by anthropogenic activities, including the dumping of plastic waste. This situation has prompted the European Union to introduce a new policy based on the circular economy. In this study, the present state and [...] Read more.
In recent decades, ecosystems have suffered diverse environmental impacts caused by anthropogenic activities, including the dumping of plastic waste. This situation has prompted the European Union to introduce a new policy based on the circular economy. In this study, the present state and future perspectives on the generation and treatment of plastic waste in the intensive agriculture of Almeria (Spain) are analyzed. This activity generates 1503.6 kg·ha−1·year−1, on average, of plastic waste with an approximate treatment cost of 0.25 €/kg. The present study shows that the volume of plastic waste from intensive agriculture in Almeria is constantly increasing (48,948.2 tons in 2020/21) and it is suggested that the current management system does not meet the needs of the sector. Although it presents great opportunities for improvement under the framework of the circular economy. Furthermore, this work reports a direct relationship between the price of the raw materials needed for the production of plastic and the volume of recycled plastics. For this reason, it would be advisable for the administration to consider the implementation of a tax rebate system for the sector and specifically when the petroleum derivatives used to manufacture plastic are less expensive, and the recycling option is not so attractive. Full article
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Article
Effect of Repeated Plant Debris Reutilization as Organic Amendment on Greenhouse Soil Fertility
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11544; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111544 - 03 Nov 2021
Viewed by 419
Abstract
Greenhouse agriculture typically generates large amounts of waste with plant residue (agricultural biomass) being the most abundant. This residue is generated on a seasonal basis, which complicates the external management of the material. Recently, the European Union (EU) has been implementing a policy [...] Read more.
Greenhouse agriculture typically generates large amounts of waste with plant residue (agricultural biomass) being the most abundant. This residue is generated on a seasonal basis, which complicates the external management of the material. Recently, the European Union (EU) has been implementing a policy based on sustainability through the circular economy that seeks to minimize waste generation. The effect of reusing 3.5 kg·m−2 tomato plants from the previous season as the only fertilizer versus no fertilization and inorganic fertilization in 215-day tomato cycles after transplanting was studied in this trial. The study was carried out during three seasons in greenhouse agriculture in Almeria (Spain) with the repeated use of the solarization technique. The plant debris had similar production results during two of the three seasons and fruit quality parameters were similar to inorganic fertilization. In addition, some physicochemical variables improved and the biological depressive effect of solarization was mitigated. The results suggest that the reuse of the tomato plant debris as the only fertilizer could be an alternative to conventional fertilization under the conditions tested. Full article
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Article
Sustainable Business Model in the Product-Service System: Analysis of Global Research and Associated EU Legislation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10123; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910123 - 26 Sep 2021
Viewed by 731
Abstract
The business fabric is trying to resolve the many transformations that have occurred in recent decades. Companies are obliged to offer new ways to meet the needs of the market. This situation has led to the creation of new business models that combine [...] Read more.
The business fabric is trying to resolve the many transformations that have occurred in recent decades. Companies are obliged to offer new ways to meet the needs of the market. This situation has led to the creation of new business models that combine both competitiveness and sustainability. Among the most consistent strategies, the product-service system (PSS) stands out. A bibliometric analysis was carried out on 1088 documents during the period 2000–2020, to synthesize the knowledge base on PSS in a global context and analyse future trends. The results obtained have made it possible to identify the evolution of scientific production, the main drivers of this issue, the lines of research developed and their link with EU legislation and reveal some critical gaps in knowledge. The main lines of research describe different aspects of PSS: servitisation, product design, manufacturing, life cycle, circular economy, and sustainable development. This study has identified how its analysis has developed to date and what terms allow us to glimpse new approaches; hence, it is a useful tool for PSS researchers and sponsors who provide financial resources that allow new directions in this research. Full article
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Article
Mapping Interactions among Green Innovations Barriers in Manufacturing Industry Using Hybrid Methodology: Insights from a Developing Country
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7885; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157885 - 26 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 738
Abstract
Recent years have witnessed continuous rise in adopting green innovations which is considered as an important organizational instrument to achieve profits by reducing environmental deterioration. However, green innovation in developing countries, especially in Pakistan, is surprisingly scant as compared to developed countries. This [...] Read more.
Recent years have witnessed continuous rise in adopting green innovations which is considered as an important organizational instrument to achieve profits by reducing environmental deterioration. However, green innovation in developing countries, especially in Pakistan, is surprisingly scant as compared to developed countries. This paper empirically investigated obstacles to green innovations in Pakistani manufacturing firms. Specifically, a novel three phase methodological framework was applied to investigate significant barriers and filtration by integrating Delphi method (DM), interpretive structural modeling (ISM), and cross-impact matrix multiplication applied to classification (MICMAC). Our results highlighted that lack of enforceable laws regarding returned goods and recycled products, lack of rules and regulations for green practices, and lack of collaboration with government and environmental institutions are most critical barriers. However, fear of failure about green innovation is least important barriers to green innovations adoption. This study offers interesting clues to promote green innovation in manufacturing industry. Full article
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Article
Analysis of the Circular Economic Production Models and Their Approach in Agriculture and Agricultural Waste Biomass Management
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9549; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249549 - 20 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1243
Abstract
As of now, circular economic production models of the circular economy (CEPMs), which include circular economy, bioeconomy, and circular bioeconomy, are among the main tools characterizing development policies in different countries. During the last five years, policies and strategies regarding CEPMs have promoted [...] Read more.
As of now, circular economic production models of the circular economy (CEPMs), which include circular economy, bioeconomy, and circular bioeconomy, are among the main tools characterizing development policies in different countries. During the last five years, policies and strategies regarding CEPMs have promoted and contributed to the development of research on this topic. The evolution and most relevant aspects of the three CEPMs previously mentioned have been analyzed from a sample of 2190 scientific publications obtained from the Scopus database. Bibliometric analysis has been used to evaluate the approach of these models in agriculture and to introduce the ways in which they address the management of agricultural waste biomass (AWB). Results show that the circular economy is the most studied and prioritized model in China and most European countries, with the UK leading the way. Germany leads in topics related to the bioeconomy. The management policies and strategies of the circular bioeconomy are key to promoting research focused on AWB valorization since bioenergy and/or biofuel production continue to be a priority. Full article
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