Special Issue "Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis of Resource Recovery from Waste Management Systems in a Circular Economy Perspective"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Carlo Ingrao
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics, University of Foggia, Via Romolo Caggese, 1 - 71121 Foggia, Italy
Interests: environmental sustainability; life cycle assessment; buildings energy efficiency
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Claudia Arcidiacono
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A), University of Catania, Italy
Interests: GIS analysis; analysis of biomass feedstock production and spatial distribution; life cycle assessment; rural buildings; image classification and feature extraction for rural land planning
Prof. Dr. Monia Niero
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Planning, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark
Interests: circular economy, life cycle management, life cycle sustainability assessment, packaging design, sustainable production and consumption
Prof. Dr. Marzia Traverso
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Sustainability in Civil Engineering (INaB),RWTH Aachen University, Mies-van-der-Rohe-Straße 1, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Interests: sustainability assessment in theory and practice; social sustainability and sustainability assessment, Life cycle assessment, life cycle costing, sustainable finance
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Linear economies are extremely wasteful in their value creation models and, indeed, are by now considered to be unsustainable from an environmental and socio-economic perspective. The rationale for transitioning to a circular model is, hence, clear and, moreover, well documented in the literature.

In this context, the circular economy (CE) is increasingly attracting interest and attention from international science and policy communities to help maintaining products, components and materials at their highest levels of utility and value. To this end, CE provides the implementation and promotion of circular flows for environmental impact reduction, whilst maximising resource efficiency. In practice, CE is aimed at minimising waste and excessive resource utilisation by turning goods at the end of their lifespans, as well as the wastes from their manufacturing and usage, into resources for the production of other commodities. Therefore, from a CE perspective, integrated strategies should be implemented for the prevention of waste, and for more sustainable manners of managing and recoverying already generated waste.

Affordable, effective and sustainable waste management is essential for sustainable development. It enables the reduction of the geopardisation of material and energy resources that results from enhanced globalisation and industrialisation.

Within this context, it is no surprise that waste valorisation through sustainable management scenarios is increasingly receiving attention and interest from researchers, producers, and decision and policy makers. It plays multiple key roles in the sustainability of a huge number of sectors, and can favour sustainable development pathways in the urban and rural context.

For waste management systems to be sustainable, the environmental, economic and social aspects need to be computed. Methodologies like the life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) are very powerful tools to address trade-offs, both between life cycle stages and between different sustainability pillars.

In this context, this Special Issue was designed to motivate prominent researchers to investigate this field and share their results. Doing so will enable the creation of a reliable and up-to-date picture of the state-of-the-art of LCSA applications for waste management systems in a CE context.

Dr. Carlo Ingrao
Prof. Dr. Claudia Arcidiacono
Prof. Dr. Valentina Siracusa
Prof. Dr. Monia Niero
Prof. Marzia Traverso
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. Resources is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1600 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

  • Sustainability of resource recovery scenarios
  • Optimisation of collection systems
  • Logistics of resources
  • Life cycle sustainability analysis

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis of Resource Recovery from Waste Management Systems in a Circular Economy Perspective Key Findings from This Special Issue
Resources 2021, 10(4), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10040032 - 09 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 588
Abstract
The generation and management of waste are gaining increasing attention worldwide as two main focuses of the environmental strategies and policies developed to date at the European level [...] Full article

Research

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Article
Waste Management under Emergency Conditions: Life-Cycle Multicriteria Analysis as Decision Support System
Resources 2020, 9(7), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9070082 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1364
Abstract
Waste management under emergency conditions requires proper handling. The sudden closure of a strategic final disposal site can result in serious environmental and health hazards which need to be addressed. Furthermore, this situation requires the identification of new sites to be used for [...] Read more.
Waste management under emergency conditions requires proper handling. The sudden closure of a strategic final disposal site can result in serious environmental and health hazards which need to be addressed. Furthermore, this situation requires the identification of new sites to be used for waste disposal. This study analysed the case-study of Genoa, Northern Italy, following the closure of the Scarpino landfill previously dedicated to the disposal of waste generated in this municipality. A multi-objective tool was developed and applied from long-term planning to day-to-day scheduling. A sensitivity analysis was performed on the basis of collected waste volumes, in order to study the utilization and actual rate of fulfilling of the plants according to the leading objective function. Considering all of the objective functions, the emissions optimization shows better behaviour in terms of simultaneous global accomplishment of each function. In this context, the introduction of a decision support system for waste management shows its usefulness in setting and effectively pursuing long-term targets in term of total costs, emissions generated by waste transport, and exploitation of single plants from a sustainability perspective. Full article
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Article
Sustainability in Maritime Sector: Waste Management Alternatives Evaluated in a Circular Carbon Economy Perspective
Resources 2020, 9(4), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9040041 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2019
Abstract
Sustainability and waste management on board are key issues that need to be addressed by the maritime sector also in terms of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). With the aim of evaluating waste management alternatives in a circular economy perspective, the study examines a [...] Read more.
Sustainability and waste management on board are key issues that need to be addressed by the maritime sector also in terms of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). With the aim of evaluating waste management alternatives in a circular economy perspective, the study examines a combined system for the optimisation of ship waste management and assesses its possible use for energy purposes. Different systems are analysed in relation to their GHG emission reduction potential regardless of routes and ports of destination. A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis was carried out on waste management alternatives in order to preliminary identify their potential in terms of GHG emissions reduction, cost, environmental sustainability, methodological coherence, feasibility and replicability. Following this analysis, two case studies of particular interest were identified: (1) the thermo-chemical treatment of waste oils and sludge to obtain fuel oils; (2) the installation of a waste-to-energy plant and subsequent energy recovery on board. UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) methodologies were applied to these two case studies to calculate GHG emission reduction resulting from their implementation. The obtained results are presented with the aim of supporting sustainable waste management strategies on board in a circular carbon economy perspective. Full article
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Article
Exergy, Economic, and Life-Cycle Assessment of ORC System for Waste Heat Recovery in a Natural Gas Internal Combustion Engine
Resources 2020, 9(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9010002 - 01 Jan 2020
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 2883
Abstract
In this article, an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) was integrated into a 2-MW natural gas engine to evaluate the possibility of generating electricity by recovering the engine’s exhaust heat. The operational and design variables with the greatest influence on the energy, economic, and [...] Read more.
In this article, an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) was integrated into a 2-MW natural gas engine to evaluate the possibility of generating electricity by recovering the engine’s exhaust heat. The operational and design variables with the greatest influence on the energy, economic, and environmental performance of the system were analyzed. Likewise, the components with greater exergy destruction were identified through the variety of different operating parameters. From the parametric results, it was found that the evaporation pressure has the greatest influence on the destruction of exergy. The highest fraction of exergy was obtained for the Shell and tube heat exchanger (ITC1) with 38% of the total exergy destruction of the system. It was also determined that the high value of the heat transfer area increases its acquisition costs and the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of the thermal system. Therefore, these systems must have a turbine technology with an efficiency not exceeding 90% because, from this value, the LCOE of the system surpasses the LCOE of a gas turbine. Lastly, a life cycle analysis (LCA) was developed on the system operating under the selected organic working fluids. It was found that the component with the greatest environmental impact was the turbine, which reached a maximum value of 3013.65 Pts when the material was aluminum. Acetone was used as the organic working fluid. Full article
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Article
A Social Analysis of the Olive Oil Sector: The Role of Family Business
Resources 2019, 8(3), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8030151 - 22 Aug 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2466
Abstract
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is one of the most popular products in Mediterranean diet. Spain produces about 52% of olive oil with the presence of larger firms; Italy follows with a share of 9% and a production structure characterized instead by small family [...] Read more.
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is one of the most popular products in Mediterranean diet. Spain produces about 52% of olive oil with the presence of larger firms; Italy follows with a share of 9% and a production structure characterized instead by small family businesses. A social analysis, based on a multiple-questionnaire, has analyzed the perspectives of 500 consumers conferring their olives to a family-owned olive oil mills (OOMs). This work aims to assess the role of family business evaluating the opportunities associated with the development of circular economy (CE) models. Results show that Italian consumers’ preferences give attention to the use of natural resource and the olive oil is perceived as a natural product. In addition, family owned-OOMs provide a great sense of trust and the relevant role of family within the entire life cycle of olive oil is demonstrated. OOMs that work for residential market are strongly preferred to industrial ones being able to manage single lots of olives belonging to the same customers’ land. The recovery of some by-products represents an opportunity for OOMs and policy support is required to favor the needed generational change, whose absence is perceived as a serious obstacle to the future development of the sector along circularity principles. Full article
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Article
Resources Sustainability through Material Efficiency Strategies: An Insight Study of Electrical and Electronic Companies
Resources 2019, 8(2), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8020117 - 24 Jun 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2235
Abstract
The circular economy (CE) is in a growing trend, especially to address the concern of resources sustainability, both from academics as well as industrial practitioners. For manufacturing businesses and services to be sustainable, using materials efficiently is an essential strategy, which is able [...] Read more.
The circular economy (CE) is in a growing trend, especially to address the concern of resources sustainability, both from academics as well as industrial practitioners. For manufacturing businesses and services to be sustainable, using materials efficiently is an essential strategy, which is able to enhance the promotion of CE. However, for a developing country like Malaysia, little is known about the ongoing material efficiency strategies among the manufacturers. This paper presents a qualitative investigation of adopting material efficiency strategies in the manufacturing industry. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the material efficiency strategies at selected Electrical and Electronics (E&E) companies in Malaysia. A list of 11 E&E companies material efficiency strategies were determined and explicated. This paper provides valuable insights to academics and practitioners for a better understanding of the current practices pertaining to the material efficiency strategies in E&E companies in a developing country. Full article
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Article
Life Cycle Assessment of Reusable Plastic Crates (RPCs)
Resources 2019, 8(2), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8020110 - 15 Jun 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3186
Abstract
The European packaging market is forecast to grow 1.9% annually in the next years, with an increasing use of returnable packages. In this context, it is important to assess the real environmental effectiveness of the packaging re-use practice in terms of environmental impacts. [...] Read more.
The European packaging market is forecast to grow 1.9% annually in the next years, with an increasing use of returnable packages. In this context, it is important to assess the real environmental effectiveness of the packaging re-use practice in terms of environmental impacts. This life cycle assessment aims to evaluate the environmental performances of reusable plastic crates (RPCs), which are used for the distribution of 36% of fruit and vegetables in Italy. RPCs can be re-used several times after a reconditioning process, i.e., inspection, washing, and sanitization with hot water and chemicals. The analysis was performed considering 12 impact categories, as well as the cumulative energy demand indicator and a tailor-made water consumption indicator. The results show that when the RPCs are used for less than 20 deliveries, the impacts of the life cycle are dominated by the manufacturing stage. By increasing the number of deliveries, the contribution of the reconditioning process increases, reaching 30–70% of the overall impacts for 125 uses. A minimum of three deliveries of the RPCs is required in order to perform better than an alternative system where crates of the same capacity (but 60% lighter) are single-use. The same modeling approach can be used to evaluate the environmental sustainability of other types of returnable packages, in order to have a complete overview for the Italian context and other European countries. Full article
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Review

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Review
End-of-Life Options for Bio-Based Plastics in a Circular Economy—Status Quo and Potential from a Life Cycle Assessment Perspective
Resources 2020, 9(7), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9070090 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2045
Abstract
The bio-based plastic market is forecast to grow in the next years. With a growing market share and product range, the implementation of circular thinking is becoming more and more important also for bio-based plastics to enable a sound circular economy for these [...] Read more.
The bio-based plastic market is forecast to grow in the next years. With a growing market share and product range, the implementation of circular thinking is becoming more and more important also for bio-based plastics to enable a sound circular economy for these group of plastics. Therefore, it is important to assess the environmental performance for different end-of-life options of bio-based plastics from an early stage on. This review presents a comprehensive overview on the current status quo of different end-of-life options for bio-based plastics from an environmental perspective. Based on the status quo and the corresponding impact assessment results, the global plastic demand as well as the technical substitution potential of bio-based plastics, the environmental saving potential in case of the different end-of-life options was calculated. The review shows that there is a focus on polylactic acid (PLA) regarding end-of-life assessment, with studies covering all end-of-life options. The focus of the impact assessment has been set on global warming potential (GWP). With respect to GWP, the analysis of a future global potential of PLA showed, for mechanical recycling, the highest saving potential with 94.1 Mio. t CO2-eq. per year in comparison to virgin material. Full article
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