Special Issue "Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Lucian-Ionel Cioca
Website
Guest Editor
Industrial Engineering and Management Department, Faculty of Engineering, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, 10 Victoriei Blv., 550024, Sibiu, Romania
Interests: management; human resources management; occupational health and safety management; production systems engineering; ergonomics; circular economy
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Circular Economy and the Sustainable Strategies are the most significant issues in all projects and proposals in many sectors. The closing the loop approach is constantly gaining importance and is beginning to be asked at all the levels. The 9R (Responsibility, React, Reduce, Reuse, Re-design, Repair, Recover, Recycle and Rot) development strategy will help to retain materials and products in the economy for as long as possible, saving primary reserves.

The focus of this Special Issue on “Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies” aims to collect up-to-date research articles that explore, examine and make proposals for a better world, taking into account the environment, human health, as well as the economic benefits. This Special Issue will incorporate articles that examine current policies, qualitative and quantitative measurements in the materials treatment sector and use/reuse, techno-economical aspects, multi-criteria systems for consuming, and closing the loop strategies. Papers on innovative developments, the environment, human health and the economy, reviews and case studies are also welcome.

The Guest Editors will select high quality research papers to proceed with blind peer reviews. Reviewers will be selected among researchers active in the field, whose works are present in international databases.

Within the framework described above, this Special Issue invites authors to contribute in the following fields (keywords):

  • Circular Economy Indicators;
  • Circular Economy Strategies;
  • Trash to Treasure;
  • Life-Cycle-Assessment;
  • Business Model for Circular Economy and Sustainability;
  • Circular, Green and Bio-Economy;
  • Consuming Strategies and Economic Optimization;
  • Health, Safety, Environment and Management;
  • Closing the Loop Strategies.

Dr. Elena Cristina Rada
Prof. Dr. Lucian-Ionel Cioca
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. Sustainability 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 1800 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.

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
How Circular Are the European Economies? A Taxonomic Analysis Based on the INEC (Index of National Economies’ Circularity)
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7613; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187613 - 15 Sep 2020
Abstract
In this paper, the aggregate index of national economies’ circularity (INEC) was proposed and empirically verified. For this purpose, the taxonomic linear ordering method was used, which is a multi-criteria decision-making procedure. This method replaces the analysis of the phenomenon described by a [...] Read more.
In this paper, the aggregate index of national economies’ circularity (INEC) was proposed and empirically verified. For this purpose, the taxonomic linear ordering method was used, which is a multi-criteria decision-making procedure. This method replaces the analysis of the phenomenon described by a set of indicators with an analysis using one aggregate indicator: the so-called ‘synthetic metric’. Based on 14 circular economy indicators that are available in the Eurostat database, the circularity indexes were constructed for 24 EU countries (including the United Kingdom). This allowed the author, on the one hand, to create a ranking of the countries, and on the other, to assign them to four groups, which were characterized by a similar level of circularity. This paper attempts to answer the following questions: how circular are the European economies? What are the main challenges in achieving circularity in Europe? Taking into account the INEC range [0,1], it should be noted that the level of circularity in the analysed European countries is low (an average of 0.3021). Therefore, the paper indicates the areas requiring improvement in this respect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
MSW Management in Universities: Sharing Best Practices
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5084; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125084 - 22 Jun 2020
Abstract
The optimization of municipal solid waste management requires the re-organization of niche sectors too. The sector of the university is not fully explored from the scientific point of view. The creation of networks among universities in order to face this issue allows an [...] Read more.
The optimization of municipal solid waste management requires the re-organization of niche sectors too. The sector of the university is not fully explored from the scientific point of view. The creation of networks among universities in order to face this issue allows an exchange of expertise also at an international level as demonstrated in this article, by three case studies: two Italian (University of Trento and University of Insubria) and one Russian (Ural Federal University) universities. This study highlights the pros and cons of each university in terms of waste management. Specifically, setting up communication campaigns, standard procedures, monitoring actions, pricing strategies that incentivize selective collection, and improving the collaboration within the university community are identified as crucial initiatives. The margins of improvement of the three universities analyzed are favored by the composition of the generated waste. The implementation of good practices can give economic advantages to the universities, besides improving their level of sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
Transformation towards Circular Economy (CE) in Municipal Waste Management System: Model Solutions for Poland
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4561; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114561 - 03 Jun 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Municipal waste management has been an area of special interest for the European Commission (EC) for many years, especially in the transformation process towards a circular economy (CE), which is a priority of the European Union’s (EU’s) economic policy. This paper presents the [...] Read more.
Municipal waste management has been an area of special interest for the European Commission (EC) for many years, especially in the transformation process towards a circular economy (CE), which is a priority of the European Union’s (EU’s) economic policy. This paper presents the overview of the Polish waste management system (WMS) and the CE-related tasks indicated in the Polish CE Roadmap. Despite the fact that Poland is one of the countries that generates the least waste per capita (329 kg in 2018) in the EU (489 kg), it still has problems with adapting the levels of municipal waste recycling to European requirements (34.3% in 2018, EU average 47%), which result from the lack of sufficient infrastructure for waste management and the insufficiently developed public awareness and behaviors. The current paper presents an inventory of the recommended actions, which support transformation towards CE in municipal waste management. These actions have been grouped into six core principles of circularity, indicated in the ReSOLVE framework: Regenerate, Share, Optimize, Loop, Virtualize, and Exchange. In each of presented areas, recommended tasks and actions were identified that should be taken by governments and residents themselves, such as landfill remediation, use of selected municipal waste fractions for economic purposes, sharing products with co-users, waste recovery, remanufacturing products or components, virtual solutions in everyday life to reduce the amount of generated waste, or replacement of household appliances by items with a higher energy class. An implementation of specific actions indicated in the paper could positively influence transformation towards CE in Poland. Because the presented examples of actions are model solutions, they can also be used in other countries and regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Indicators to Measure Efficiency in Circular Economies
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4483; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114483 - 01 Jun 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
In this paper, a number of indicators are shown to measure economic efficiency in terms of circular economy (CE). The European Union affirms the need for a comprehensive model of indicators relating to CE in order to meet the needs of all participants [...] Read more.
In this paper, a number of indicators are shown to measure economic efficiency in terms of circular economy (CE). The European Union affirms the need for a comprehensive model of indicators relating to CE in order to meet the needs of all participants (individual companies and industry, society, and the nation), to be based on three perspectives: environmental impact, economic benefit, and resource scarcity. Therefore, the objective of this work is to define these indicators and establish models for measuring the efficiency of processes and products of CE (through Data Envelopment Analysis, (DEA)) in its different manifestations. The models will be useful for both organizations and external users in relation to CE in order to facilitate the search for indicators for all users. Following the bibliographic review of official reports and different high impact works, our results demonstrate the ability to obtain information concerning the main indicators of CE and how the efficiency of CE models has been measured through the most frequently used inputs and outputs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
Biodegradation of Bioplastic Using Anaerobic Digestion at Retention Time as per Industrial Biogas Plant and International Norms
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4231; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104231 - 21 May 2020
Abstract
Bioplastics are gaining interest as an alternative to fossil-based plastics. In addition, biodegradable bioplastics may yield biogas after their use, giving an additional benefit. However, the biodegradability time in international norms (35 days) far exceeds processing times in anaerobic digestion facilities (21 days). [...] Read more.
Bioplastics are gaining interest as an alternative to fossil-based plastics. In addition, biodegradable bioplastics may yield biogas after their use, giving an additional benefit. However, the biodegradability time in international norms (35 days) far exceeds processing times in anaerobic digestion facilities (21 days). As the bioplastic packaging does not indicate the actual biodegradability, it is important to understand the time required to biodegrade bioplastic if it ends up in the anaerobic digestion facility along with other organic waste. For this work, cellulose bioplastic film and polylactic acid (PLA) coffee capsules were digested anaerobically at 55 ℃ for 21 days and 35 days, which are the retention times for industrial digestors and as set by international norms, respectively. Different sizes of bioplastics were examined for this work. Bioplastic film produced more biogas than bioplastic coffee capsules. The biodegradability of bioplastic was calculated based on theoretical biogas production. With an increase in retention time, biogas production, as well as biodegradability of bioplastic, increased. The biodegradability was less than 50% at the end of 35 days for both bioplastics, suggesting that complete degradation was not achieved, and thus, the bioplastic would not be suitable for use in biogas digesters currently in use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
The Evaluation and Promotion Path of Green Innovation Performance in Chinese Pollution-Intensive Industry
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4198; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104198 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Innovation driven green development has become the key to realizing the transformation and upgrading of pollution-intensive industries and the improvement of economic quality and efficiency in the new era. Based on the identification of pollution-intensive industries, this study evaluated the green innovation performance [...] Read more.
Innovation driven green development has become the key to realizing the transformation and upgrading of pollution-intensive industries and the improvement of economic quality and efficiency in the new era. Based on the identification of pollution-intensive industries, this study evaluated the green innovation performance of Chinese pollution-intensive industry from 2014 to 2018 from two dimensions of transformation efficiency (static) and productivity (dynamic) using the SBM-Undesirable model and the Malmquist–Luenberger productivity index. The results found that: First, there is still a potential for 21.7% improvement in the transformation efficiency of green innovation in pollution-intensive industries, the productivity is increasing and presents a dynamic evolution characteristic of “Λ” shape and industry heterogeneity exists in both the transformation efficiency and productivity. Second, if energy conservation and pollution emissions reduction are not considered, the transformation efficiency of green innovation will be underestimated by 6.3 percentage points and the productivity overestimated by 1.3 percentage points. Finally, pollution-intensive industries can improve green innovation performance from three paths: Unilateral, stepping and jumping. Based on the research conclusions, to better promote the green transformation of Chinese pollution-intensive industries, we recommend increased investment in scientific research to promote the application and promotion of green technologies; strengthen the level of supervision and management to flexibly make use of environmental regulations; and change the concept of policy implementation to explore the diversity and complementarity of green innovation policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
OHS Disclosures Within Non-Financial Reports: The Romanian Case
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1963; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051963 - 04 Mar 2020
Abstract
The article addresses the issue of disclosing Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) issues by corporations in Romania, under the influence of recent changes in the legislative framework imposed by the adoption of the EU Directive 2014/95/EU on non-financial reporting by large corporations exceeding [...] Read more.
The article addresses the issue of disclosing Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) issues by corporations in Romania, under the influence of recent changes in the legislative framework imposed by the adoption of the EU Directive 2014/95/EU on non-financial reporting by large corporations exceeding 500 employees. The goal of our study consist in determining the relevant factors that influence the level of the Romanian companies’ OHS disclosure. To this end, we have compiled a sample of 35 organizations that have elaborated and published non-financial reports during 2016–2017 and we have analysed the impact of some relevant determinants upon the reporting phenomenon. With the aim of providing a clear picture of the regional context of our study, we put together many pieces of information regarding the corporations that played the trend-setters role in Romania, by disclosing corporate social responsibility (CSR)/sustainability reports between 2003 and 2017, although this practice has been characterized by a voluntary and unsteady approach in many cases. The importance of outlining the regional context of the Romanian reporting companies is given by the urge to raise the local managers’ level of awareness towards sustainability issues and to use the recent legislative changes as opportunities to catch up with more advanced EU countries. The research methods used in order to identify the interdependencies established between the key factors involved in the disclosure practices included a mixed quantitative-qualitative approach, and referred to: content analysis of sustainability reports; descriptive analysis of the statistical variables which were taken into consideration; correlation analysis of numerical variables; and the ANOVA method for investigating the interdependencies between the categorical and numerical variables. Among the influencing factors that impact with a greater or lesser intensity the quality of OHS reporting performed by the local companies, the following were highlighted: the corporations’ market share, their field of activity, and the ownership structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Academic Literature on Governing Inclusive Green Growth in Africa: Geographical Biases and Topical Gaps
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1956; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051956 - 04 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
A strong indigenous capacity for credible, salient and legitimate knowledge production is crucial to support African countries in developing their economies and societies inclusively and sustainably. In this article, we aim to quantify the current and historic capacity for African knowledge production to [...] Read more.
A strong indigenous capacity for credible, salient and legitimate knowledge production is crucial to support African countries in developing their economies and societies inclusively and sustainably. In this article, we aim to quantify the current and historic capacity for African knowledge production to support the green economy in Africa, and identify important topical gaps. With a focus on topics relating to Governing Inclusive Green Growth in Africa (GIGGA), our research mapped how much Africa-focused research is being produced, from where and which African countries have higher or lower supply; and the topical focus of the research, mapping it against the African GIGGA policy discourses visible in government strategies. To do this we undertook a systematic review using a two-stage process, mapping the literature for GIGGA. This resulted in 960 verified citations. Content analysis of core metadata and article abstracts enabled mapping of the research focus. The analysis revealed a significant role for South Africa as both the pre-eminent producer of GIGGA literature as well as the geographic focus of GIGGA research, with Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya representing emerging loci of credible, African-relevant knowledge production. Topically, there was a strong emphasis on development, policy and environment while topics important for growth that is inclusive in character were infrequent or absent. Overall the results reinforced the view that investment is needed in research on inclusive green growth, linked to capacity building for knowledge production systems in Africa. Furthermore, from a policy perspective, policy makers and academics need to actively explore best to collaborate to ensure that academic research informs government policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrating Circularity in the Sustainability Assessment of Asphalt Mixtures
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020594 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Rising concerns about the impacts that the road engineering industry is imposing to the environment have redirected national road authorities to firmly re-consider the sustainability implications of their operations. Lately, though, sustainability has established a forceful correlation with the Circular Economy and its [...] Read more.
Rising concerns about the impacts that the road engineering industry is imposing to the environment have redirected national road authorities to firmly re-consider the sustainability implications of their operations. Lately, though, sustainability has established a forceful correlation with the Circular Economy and its principles. The road engineering industry, therefore, is moving towards more circular approaches. However, this is occurring without the assessment of the potential impacts of such a transition. For this reason, in this study, a composite indicator, namely, Environmental Sustainability and Circularity indicator (ESCi), for investigating the potential effects that increased circularity could have at the environmental sustainability of asphalt mixtures is developed. It can be utilized as a decision-making support tool from stakeholders involved in both asphalt mixture production and road pavement management. In addition, in this study, four asphalt mixtures with different percentages of Reclaimed Asphalt (RA) were assessed in terms of their “cradle-to-gate” environmental impacts and circularity, by means of Life Cycle Assessment, and Material Circularity Index, respectively. Their fatigue and permanent deformation performances play a key role in the assessment and distinctive results obtained for the asphalt mixtures with increasing RA% and thus, significant environmental benefits and increased circularity are observed after specific RA% thresholds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Assessment of Electrochemical Energy Storage Device Manufacturing to Identify Drivers for Attaining Goals of Sustainable Materials 4.0
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010342 - 01 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Electricity from the combination of photovoltaic panels and wind turbines exhibits potential benefits towards the sustainable cities transition. Nevertheless, the highly fluctuating and intermittent character limits an extended applicability in the energy market. Particularly, batteries represent a challenging approach to overcome the existing [...] Read more.
Electricity from the combination of photovoltaic panels and wind turbines exhibits potential benefits towards the sustainable cities transition. Nevertheless, the highly fluctuating and intermittent character limits an extended applicability in the energy market. Particularly, batteries represent a challenging approach to overcome the existing constraints and to achieve sustainable urban energy development. On the basis of the market roll-out and level of technological maturity, five commercially available battery technologies are assessed in this work, namely, lead–acid, lithium manganese oxide, nickel–cadmium, nickel–metal hydride, and vanadium redox flow. When considering sustainable development, environmental assessments provide valuable information. In this vein, an environmental analysis of the technologies is conducted using a life cycle assessment methodology from a cradle-to-gate perspective. A comparison of the environmental burden of battery components identified vanadium redox flow battery as the lowest environmental damage battery. In terms of components, electrodes; the electrolyte; and the set of pumps, motors, racks, and bolts exhibited the greatest environmental impact related to manufacturing. In terms of materials, copper, steel, sulphuric acid, and vanadium were identified as the main contributors to the midpoint impact categories. The results have highlighted that challenging materials 4.0 are still needed in battery manufacturing to provide sustainable technology designs required to the future urban planning based on circular economy demands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
The Economic and Ecological Impacts of Dismantling End-of-Life Vehicles in Romania
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6446; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226446 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
In a global market characterized by the trend of saving non-renewable resources, recycling has become one of the key factors that alleviates the rarity of resources and preserves existing ones. One of the largest industries that consumes natural resources is the automotive industry. [...] Read more.
In a global market characterized by the trend of saving non-renewable resources, recycling has become one of the key factors that alleviates the rarity of resources and preserves existing ones. One of the largest industries that consumes natural resources is the automotive industry. This includes not only resource consumption but also the environmental effects of each new unit produced in this industry. As a result, recycling end-of-life vehicles has become an increasingly obvious and widespread concern. This paper proposes a preliminary analysis of the dismantling/recycling activities in Romania compared to other economies (e.g., USA). It aims to determine the impact that dismantling end-of-life vehicles has, according to the legislation in the field, on the economy and the environment. In order to obtain a complete picture, it is obvious that further research is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
Circular Economy for Food Policy: The Case of the RePoPP Project in The City of Turin (Italy)
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6078; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216078 - 01 Nov 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Circular economy for food (CE) and food policies (FP) are two emerging but already prominent research areas, particularly when talking about the cities of the future. This paper analyzes the dynamics between these two fields of research, starting from review articles and the [...] Read more.
Circular economy for food (CE) and food policies (FP) are two emerging but already prominent research areas, particularly when talking about the cities of the future. This paper analyzes the dynamics between these two fields of research, starting from review articles and the analysis of a case study, underlying the fundaments that FP and CE share. In particular, this paper focuses on using circular economy (CE) indicators and strategies to shape urban food policies (FP) to create a new business and political model towards sustainability. It introduces four converging perspectives, emerging from the literature, and analyzes how they have been integrated in the case study RePoPP (Re-design Project of Organic waste in Porta Palazzo market), a circular project born from the FP of the City of Turin (Italy). RePoPP is indeed a multi-actor project of urban circular food policies against food waste, which demonstrates how a circular approach can be the turning point in the creation of new food policies. This article wants to define for the first time a new research framework called “circular economy for food policy”, along with its characteristics: the application of a systemic approach and CE to problems and solutions, the need for a transdisciplinary and integrated project design for the 9R (responsibility, react, reduce, reuse, re-design, repair, recover, recycle, and rot), the use of food as a pivot of cross-sectoral change, and a new form of collaborative and integrated governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability of Circular Economy Indicators and Their Impact on Economic Growth of the European Union
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5481; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195481 - 03 Oct 2019
Cited by 12
Abstract
In this paper, we develop a methodology for studying the sustainability of the circular economy model, based on environmental indicators, and its impact on European Union (EU) economic growth. In open-end systems, waste is converted back to materials and objects through recycling; hence, [...] Read more.
In this paper, we develop a methodology for studying the sustainability of the circular economy model, based on environmental indicators, and its impact on European Union (EU) economic growth. In open-end systems, waste is converted back to materials and objects through recycling; hence, a linear economy is transformed into a circular economy (CE). Environmental factors support the argument for the sustainable implementation of a circular economy. The main objective of this paper is to analyze the sustainability of the CE indicators and to elaborate a multilinear regression model with panel data for determining the dependency of the main CE factors on EU economic growth. Starting with the model of economic growth based on circular material use rate, recycling rate of municipal waste (RRMW), trade in recycling materials, labor productivity, environmental taxes, and resource productivity as independent variables, six statistical hypotheses were validated through a multiple regression model with the use of the statistical software EViews 11. The research study was conducted for 27 EU countries, and the data was collected from the European Union Statistical Office (EUROSTAT), during the time frame 2010 to 2017. Based on econometric modeling, the paper highlights that circular economy generates sustainable economic growth across the EU. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessArticle
Consumer Perceptions Related to Clothing Repair and Community Mending Events: A Circular Economy Perspective
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5306; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195306 - 26 Sep 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
While research focusing on clothing repair and community mending events as part of sustainable clothing consumption practices has been conducted in some developed European countries (e.g., the U.K. and the Netherlands), little research has examined consumer clothes mending/repairing behavior in a U.S. context. [...] Read more.
While research focusing on clothing repair and community mending events as part of sustainable clothing consumption practices has been conducted in some developed European countries (e.g., the U.K. and the Netherlands), little research has examined consumer clothes mending/repairing behavior in a U.S. context. The purpose of this study was to explore U.S. consumers’ specific barriers and motivations to engage in clothing repair and their likelihood to participate in clothes mending and community mending events. An intercept survey approach was used to administer a questionnaire to participants who were attendees at three different events in a mid-sized city in Colorado, U.S. across a two-week time span. Data were collected from 254 participants. Path analysis was conducted to test four sets of hypotheses. The results suggested that consumers’ perceived barriers negatively influenced their mending frequency. Consumer’s perceived motivations positively influenced their attitudes toward mending, their mending frequency, and sustainable post-consumption clothing behaviors (SPCBs). Furthermore, participants’ attitudes toward mending, mending frequency, and their SPCBs positively influenced their intentions to mend clothes and to participate in community mending events. The current study advances the understanding of US consumers’ clothes mending behaviors and provides critical implications for local governments and education systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
The Ecological Criteria of Circular Growth and the Rebound Risk of Closed Loops
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2961; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102961 - 24 May 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
The implementation practices of the circular economy (CE) put a strong emphasis on preventing material losses in economic processes. The general interpretation of the concept focuses on closing technological and biological cycles by reintegrating end-of-life products into production and consumption systems. Thus, “closed [...] Read more.
The implementation practices of the circular economy (CE) put a strong emphasis on preventing material losses in economic processes. The general interpretation of the concept focuses on closing technological and biological cycles by reintegrating end-of-life products into production and consumption systems. Thus, “closed loops” have become a trademark of circular transition. However, this limited perception fails to cover the essence of the CE. Besides closure, the utility of material loops can be prolonged, and a conscious consumer attitude may even prevent the creation of unnecessary material flows. This paper aims at proving that the preference of closed loops would result in deadweight losses in the long run. The conducted analysis ranks EU member states according to the most anticipated material flow indicators. Then, the study presents a new methodology to measure circular efficiency based on the available ecological capacity of the countries. The outcomes show that the poorly performing actors are in fact not far from a sustainable operation. Meanwhile, the countries with the most efficient material flow values present the widest development gap to reach the ideal level of circularity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Addressing the Social Aspects of a Circular Economy: A Systematic Literature Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7912; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197912 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Circular Economy (CE) is a growing topic among scholars, industries, and governments, and is aimed at decoupling economic growth and development from the consumption of finite resources. CE incorporates different meanings, from reduce, reuse, and recycle activities, to environmental degradation or resource scarcity, [...] Read more.
Circular Economy (CE) is a growing topic among scholars, industries, and governments, and is aimed at decoupling economic growth and development from the consumption of finite resources. CE incorporates different meanings, from reduce, reuse, and recycle activities, to environmental degradation or resource scarcity, and is supported by specific indicators to attain sustainable development. However, so far, there has been no agreement to measure how effective an industry/product is in making the transition from linear to circular approaches, particularly those that affect society. This research work aims to perform a systematic literature review (n = 60) to analyze and discuss how social aspects have been considered and integrated in CE research so far. Moreover, this review provides an overview of the literature on social impact within the CE, which results in three main outputs: a knowledge map of the CE, an analysis of social aspects within CE, and the theories/frameworks used to evaluate social impact of CE. Finally, this study brings to light how CE implementation can affect society and highlights the importance of social dimension in the domains of CE and a policy-making community, which could help move CE towards a sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessReview
Perspectives of Circular Economy in Romanian Space
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6819; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176819 - 22 Aug 2020
Abstract
The circular economy (CE) is a popular concept in the European Union (EU) space, which has been the subject of numerous research and substantiation activities. In the last years, there has been a growing interest in Romania regarding the characteristics of this new [...] Read more.
The circular economy (CE) is a popular concept in the European Union (EU) space, which has been the subject of numerous research and substantiation activities. In the last years, there has been a growing interest in Romania regarding the characteristics of this new economic model and the principles on which it works. Referring to Romanian specialized literature currently available regarding the submitted topic, we consider that the theoretical part is insufficiently structured. In addition, by pointing out the applicability of the circular economy in Romanian space, we consider this to be represented mainly by the fragility of its effective and practical implementation. The examples of Romanian successes in the field of circular economy are limited, a fact that can be explained—from our perspective—through the aspect that in other EU countries, the process of development of CE has some precedents, a stronger background and a ”self-constructed” history in the topic. There is undoubtedly a necessity for adopting this new economic model, considering that, for the most part, Romanian economy is still dependent on the linear economic system. Starting from these arguments, the proposed article uses a thematic debate of the notion of circular economy, presenting, at the beginning, an incursion into the predominantly European variety of theoretical approaches. The selection of definitions and conceptualization is continued with an analysis of the stage of implementation of CE in Romania. The purpose of this approach is to investigate a niche identified in the Romanian space, not covered in the specialized scientific research and to expose the specificity of the process of transition of Romania to a circular economy, of the barriers encountered—namely, the problem related to the attitude and mentality regarding this new concept. We also point out that the intention of the study is to integrate a ”different” contemporary and very current economic concept into a real economy, and at the same time, to increase the visibility of its application at the level of a member country of the EU. The challenges encountered in the context of the increasingly present tendency in Romania of assimilating and complying with the precepts of the circular economy are also detailed, proposing, at the end of the study suggestions for improving the gaps identified at this level. The most realistic implementation of the circular model in Romania represents a qualitative plus for the human-society factor, as well as for the environment. In conclusion, we note that, despite the evolution of the number of theoretical approaches and concerns, the field of circular economy and the perspectives it proposes, continues to offer a favorable ground for further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Circular Economy Practices and Strategies in Public Sector Organizations: An Integrative Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4181; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104181 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
The concept of the Circular Economy (CE) is an increasingly attractive approach to tackling current sustainability challenges and facilitating a shift away from the linear “take-make-use-dispose” model of production and consumption. The public sector is a major contributor to the CE transition not [...] Read more.
The concept of the Circular Economy (CE) is an increasingly attractive approach to tackling current sustainability challenges and facilitating a shift away from the linear “take-make-use-dispose” model of production and consumption. The public sector is a major contributor to the CE transition not only as a policy-maker but also as a significant purchaser, consumer, and user of goods and services. The circularization of the public sector itself, however, has received very little attention in CE research. In order to explore the current state of knowledge on the implementation of CE practices and strategies within Public Sector Organizations (PSOs), this research aims to develop an overview of the existing literature. The literature review was designed combining a systematic search with a complementary purposive sampling. Using organizational sustainability as a theoretical perspective, the main results showed a scattered landscape, indicating that the limited research on CE practices and strategies in PSOs has focused so far on the areas of public procurement, internal operations and processes, and public service delivery. As a result of this literature review, an organizational CE framework of a PSO is proposed providing a holistic view of a PSO as a system with organizational dimensions that are relevant for the examination and analysis of the integration process of CE practices and strategies. This innovative framework aims to help further CE research and practice to move beyond current sustainability efforts, highlighting that public procurement, strategy and management, internal processes and operations, assessment and communication, public service delivery, human resources dimensions, collaboration with other organizations, and various external contexts are important public sector areas where the implementation of CE has the potential to bring sustainability benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Soil as a Basis to Create Enabling Conditions for Transitions Towards Sustainable Land Management as a Key to Achieve the SDGs by 2030
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6792; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236792 - 29 Nov 2019
Cited by 27
Abstract
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be grouped into three domains, the environmental domain, the social domain and the economic domain. These different layers influence each other; hence sustainable progress in the economic layer cannot be achieved without good progress in the two [...] Read more.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be grouped into three domains, the environmental domain, the social domain and the economic domain. These different layers influence each other; hence sustainable progress in the economic layer cannot be achieved without good progress in the two other layers. To achieve the SDGs, transitions in the current system are needed and actions should be taken that support transitions and contribute to short term needs and long term (global) goals. Therefore, it is necessary to have knowledge of transitions and understand the different phases of transition. In this paper we discuss the key role of the soil-water system in these transitions and the achievement of the SDGs by 2030. The increasing pressure on land calls for multi-use of land and for the restoration of degraded land. Healthy soils and healthy land are the basic conditions for the successful implementation and realization of the SDGs. To enable a sustainable management of the soil and water system a transition approach is a prerequisite. In the X-curve used to describe transitions, soil and land stakeholders are given a framework, which provides perspective for action, specifically for science and governance stakeholders in each phase of the transition. This framework can provide the required intensive guidance to (1) analyze the impact of provided incentives, (2) identify new reference points in the transition and (3) stimulate transition catalysts, and (iv) innovate by testing cutting edge policy instruments in close cooperation with society. The key to make the necessary transitions and realize the SDGs by 2030 lies in the intensive guidance to combining initiatives, steering knowledge flows and continuously assessing the stage of the transition, in order to plan specific steps needed to progress in the transition framework. Both scientist and policy makers have an important role in this guidance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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