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Special Issue "Polymer Waste Management"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 5167

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Grigorios L. Kyriakopoulos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Electric Power Division, Photometry Laboratory, National Technical University of Athens, 9 Heroon Polytechniou Street, 15780 Athens, Greece
Interests: environment, renewable energy; economic development; environmental impact analysis; climate change; atmospheric pollution; water pollution regulations; environmental management standards; technology transfer; sustainability; higher education policy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Dalia Streimikiene
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Lithuanian Energy Instiute, LT-44403 Kaunas, Lithuania
Interests: sustainable energy development; climate change mitigation in the energy sector; behavioral changes; assessment of willingness to pay
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Tomas Baležentis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Polymers are materials associated with energy intensive processes of production as well as environmental degradation and significant loss of valuable materials, due to excessive amounts of waste production. Moreover, polymer products are particularly sensitive to intensively fluctuating environmental conditions. In this regard, the negative perception of polymer byproducts necessitates the development of dedicated and refined methods for treating such types of waste in a sustainable manner. Major challenges are relevant to the design, analysis, maintenance, and decommissioning phase of polymer waste under the expected lifetime. In addition, the mitigation or retrofitting of existing polymeric structures should be examined in accordance with the optimal and safe design of innovative materials and/or systems. The key features of the imposed design load are driven by the following managerial constraints:

  • Polymer waste is not always a cost- or benefit-appreciated material, being discarded i landfills.
  • Polymer waste occasionally follows deficient management, leading to environmental degradation and significant material loss.
  • The identification and extraction of valuable compounds from polymer waste could allow them to undergo a second round or lifetime.

This Special Issue aims to provide a wide range of viable models and alternative methods that address the technical, economic, societal, industrial, and commercial dimensions, either in isolation or in joint/multidisciplinary approaches. Reports examining the managerial prospects of efficient valorization strategies for waste and byproducts, minimization of energy consumption, and environmental protection are also welcome. Hence, both original research articles as well as relevant state-of-the-art reviews are warmly invited for submission to this Special Issue of Sustainability.  

Dr. Grigorios L. Kyriakopoulos
Prof. Dr. Dalia Streimikiene
Prof. Dr. Tomas Baležentis
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2000 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

  • polymers
  • waste management
  • environmental sustainability
  • willingness to pay
  • materials recovery
  • energy from wastes
  • socioeconomic impact of waste treatment
  • life cycle assessment

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Sustainable Production of Stiff and Crystalline Bacterial Cellulose from Orange Peel Extract
Sustainability 2022, 14(4), 2247; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14042247 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 450
Abstract
In this work, a potentially economic and environmentally friendly method for the synthesis of bacterial cellulose (BC) by Gluconacetobacter xylinus from a biomass containing orange peel extract was evaluated. Orange peel extract was used as a culture medium without any hydrolysis treatment, thus [...] Read more.
In this work, a potentially economic and environmentally friendly method for the synthesis of bacterial cellulose (BC) by Gluconacetobacter xylinus from a biomass containing orange peel extract was evaluated. Orange peel extract was used as a culture medium without any hydrolysis treatment, thus speeding up the synthesis procedure. The efficacy of orange peel as a carbon source was compared with that of sucrose. The orange peel extract formed thicker cellulose gels than those formed using sucrose. X-ray diffraction (XRD) revealed both a high crystallinity index and crystallite size of BC nanofibers in samples obtained from orange peel (BC_Orange). Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) revealed a highly densely packed nanofibrous structure (50 nm in diameter). BC_Orange presented a two-fold increase in water holding capacity (WHC), and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) showed a 44% increase in storage modulus compared to sucrose derived BC. These results showed that the naturally available carbon sources derived from orange peel extract can be effectively used for BC production. The orange-based culture medium can be considered a profitable alternative to the generation of high-value products in a virtuous circular economy model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Waste Management)
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Article
Awareness of Citizens for the Single-Use Plastics: Comparison between a High-Income and an Upper-Middle-Income Economy of the Easter Mediterranean Region, Greece and Lebanon
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1912; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031912 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 541
Abstract
Plastics have become an integral part of daily human life for the last 50 years because, due to their durability, low cost and ease of construction, they have replaced many other materials. However, the same characteristics that make plastics particularly desirable are also [...] Read more.
Plastics have become an integral part of daily human life for the last 50 years because, due to their durability, low cost and ease of construction, they have replaced many other materials. However, the same characteristics that make plastics particularly desirable are also what make them ubiquitous in the environment, especially as much of the plastic is designed to be discarded almost immediately after use. This study investigates the opinion and behavior concerning the current use of plastics, their end-of-life (recycling) scenario, and the potential for their replacement with more sustainable and biodegradable materials in Greece and Lebanon. The survey was conducted during April and May 2021 in the main cities of the two countries. The data were collected using a structured questionnaire. The questionnaires were analyzed, using simple descriptive statistics, chi-square test and PCA analysis. The results show that even if the respondents of both countries stated significant awareness of environmental issues, they often use single-use plastics. Furthermore, the respondents (in both Greece and Lebanon) say that it would be fair to pay more for products in a package made of biodegradable materials. Finally, the statistical analysis of the results shows that in both Greece and Lebanon, there is a small increase in the use of reusable products during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to before the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Waste Management)
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Article
Chemical Recycling of Plastic Marine Litter: First Analytical Characterization of The Pyrolysis Oil and of Its Fractions and Comparison with a Commercial Marine Gasoil
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1235; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031235 - 21 Jan 2022
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Abstract
A detailed molecular fingerprint of raw pyrolysis oil from plastic wastes is a new research area. The present study focuses for the first time on the chemical recycling of plastic marine litter; we aim to chemically characterize the obtained raw pyrolysis oil and [...] Read more.
A detailed molecular fingerprint of raw pyrolysis oil from plastic wastes is a new research area. The present study focuses for the first time on the chemical recycling of plastic marine litter; we aim to chemically characterize the obtained raw pyrolysis oil and its distillates (virgin naphtha and marine gasoil) via GC-MS and FT-IR. For all samples, more than 30% of the detected compounds were identified. 2,4-dimethyl-1-heptene, a marker of PP pyrolysis, is the most represented peak in the chemical signature of all the marine litter pyrolysis samples, and it differentiates commercial and pyrolysis marine gasoil. The presence of naphthalenes is stronger in commercial gasoil, compared to its pyrolysis analog, while the opposite holds for olefins. The overlap between the two molecular fingerprints is impressive, even if saturated hydrocarbons are more common in commercial gasoil, and unsaturated compounds are more common in the gasoil derived from pyrolysis. A technical comparison between the commercial marine gasoil and the one obtained from the marine litter pyrolysis is also attempted. Gasoil derived from marine litter fully complies with the ISO8217 standards for distillate marine fuel. On the other hand, the virgin naphtha is particularly rich in BTX, ethylbenzene, styrene, and alpha olefins, which are all important recoverable platform chemicals for industrial upcycling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Waste Management)
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Review

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Review
Investigating the Human Impacts and the Environmental Consequences of Microplastics Disposal into Water Resources
Sustainability 2022, 14(2), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14020828 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 562
Abstract
During the last decades, one of the most contentious environmental issues has been the investigation of the fate of microplastics (MPs) and detrimental consequences in natural and water resources worldwide. In this respect, it is critical research firstly to track the ways in [...] Read more.
During the last decades, one of the most contentious environmental issues has been the investigation of the fate of microplastics (MPs) and detrimental consequences in natural and water resources worldwide. In this respect, it is critical research firstly to track the ways in which MPs are determined as key anthropogenic pollutants in terms of ecological risk and secondly to plan feasible policies under which the role of science and society in tackling this global issue in the future should be prioritized. In this study, a systematic theoretical, technical, and planning analysis was developed in alignment with a Scopus search deployed in the second half of the year 2021 and covering a wide chronological range (from 1970s onwards) and thematic contexts of analysis by using keywords and key phrases organized into two groups. The document results were graphically represented, revealing the main scientific focus of studies. Subsequently, our study investigated the quantitative assessment methods of MPs in marine environments, denoting the range of standard procedures applied for collecting and analyzing samples of water, bottom sediments, and coastal deposits. The technological part of the study includes the presentation of the relevant analytical techniques applied for MPs tracking and monitoring in water resources, determining the wide spectrum of plastic compounds traced. Of particular interest was the determination of environmental depletion and human implications caused, even by extremely low concentrations of MPs, for marine biota, posing potential risks to marine ecosystems, biodiversity, and food availability. Finally, the research proposed the challenges of actions needed to support scientific, industry, policy, and civil society communities to curb the ongoing flow of MPs and the toxic chemicals they contain into water resources, while rethinking the ways of plastics consumption by humanity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Waste Management)
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Review
Chemical Recycling of PET in the Presence of the Bio-Based Polymers, PLA, PHB and PEF: A Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10528; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910528 - 23 Sep 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1873
Abstract
The great increase in the production and consumption of plastics has resulted in large amounts of plastic wastes, creating a serious problem in terms of their environmentally friendly disposal. The need for the production of more environmentally friendly polymers gave birth to the [...] Read more.
The great increase in the production and consumption of plastics has resulted in large amounts of plastic wastes, creating a serious problem in terms of their environmentally friendly disposal. The need for the production of more environmentally friendly polymers gave birth to the production of biodegradable, and more recently, biobased polymers, used in the production of biodegradable or biobased plastics. Although the percentage of currently produced bioplastics is rather small, almost 1% compared to petrochemical-based plastics, inevitably is going to significantly increase in the near future due to strict legislation recently posed by the European Union and other countries’ Governments. Thus, recycling strategies that have been developed could be disturbed and the economic balance of this sector could be destabilized. In the present review, the recycling of the polymer mainly used in food plastic packaging, i.e., poly(ethylene terephthalate), PET is examined together with its counterparts from the biobased polymers, i.e., poly(lactic acid), PLA (already replacing PET in several applications), poly(3-hydroxybutyrate), PHB and poly(ethylene furanoate), PEF. Methods for the chemical recycling of these materials together with the chemical products obtained are critically reviewed. Specifically, hydrolysis, alcoholysis and glycolysis. Hydrolysis (i.e., the reaction with water) under different environments (alkaline, acidic, neutral), experimental conditions and catalysts results directly in the production of the corresponding monomers, which however, should be separated in order to be re-used for the re-production of the respective polymer. Reaction conditions need to be optimized with a view to depolymerize only a specific polymer, while the others remain intact. Alcoholysis (i.e., the reaction with some alcohol, methanol or ethanol) results in methyl or ethyl esters or diesters that again could be used for the re-production of the specific polymer or as a source for producing other materials. Glycolysis (reaction with some glycol, such as ethylene, or diethylene glycol) is much studied for PET, whereas less studied for the biopolymers and seems to be a very promising technique. Oligomers having two terminal hydroxyl groups are produced that can be further utilized as starting materials for other value-added products, such as unsaturated polyester resins, methacrylated crosslinked resins, biodegradable polyurethanes, etc. These diols derived from both PET and the bio-based polymers can be used simultaneously without the need for an additional separation step, in the synthesis of final products incorporating biodegradable units in their chemical structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Waste Management)
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