Special Issue "Circular Economy Approaches for Lifecycles of Products and Services"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Daizhong Su
E-Mail Website
Chief Guest Editor
Advanced Design and Manufacturing Engineering Centre, School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham NG1 4FQ, UK
Interests: circular economy; sustainable technology; sustainable production and consumption; sustainable design and manufacture
Dr. Wenjie Peng
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Advanced Design and Manufacturing Engineering Centre, School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham NG1 4FQ, UK
Interests: sustainability; ICT; internet of things; sustainable production and consumption; industrial engineering; control
Dr. You Wu
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Advanced Design and Manufacturing Engineering Centre, School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham NG1 4FQ, UK
Interests: circular economy; climate change; environmental life cycle assessment; social life cycle assessment; engineering management; materials efficiency
Dr. Hua Huang
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
School of Information Engineering, Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, Jingdezhen 333001, China
Interests: cloud computing; service computing; smarting computing; product intelligent design; mobile systems for eco-accounting

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There has been an increasing demand to implement circular economy approaches in the development of products and services through product life cycle. To facilitate implementation, sustainability technologies play important roles covering environmental, social and economic perspectives. To meet the demand, the project “a circular economy approach for lifecycles of products and services (CIRC4Life)” http://www.circ4life.eu has been in operation since May 2018 and will conclude at the end of October 2021 with total project budget 7.3 million euros. The CIRC4Life project is supported by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, which involves 17 international teams.

The CIRC4Life project develops three circular economy business models (CEBMs): the co-creation of products and services, sustainable consumption, and collaborative recycling/reuse. The CEBMs are demonstrated in four industrial sectors: LED lighting products, vegetable farming, meat supply chain and bio-waste recycling, and computer tablet recycling and reuse. The CEBMs and demonstrators are supported by various sustainability technologies, including information and communication technology (ICT), traceability, environmental and social life cycle assessments, sustainable design and manufacture, eco-accounting, eco-shopping and eco-incentives, decision-making tools, online data mining, living lab approaches, and more, which can be found on the project Website mentioned above.  

In order to further develop and implement circular economy approaches and sustainability, to share the CIRC4Life project achievements and to promote the research outcome in the research areas, this Special Issue calls for papers focused on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  •  Circular economy and sustainability methods/technologies 
    - Circular economy approaches for products and services;
    - Circular economy business models;
    - Sustainability technologies and their industrial application;
    - Sustainability and circular economy through product life cycle;
    - Methodologies for environmentally friendly product development;
    - Environmental life cycle assessment. Social life cycle assessment. Three bottom lines of sustainability; 
    - Product environmental footprint, environmental product declaration, product carbon footprint, life cycle analysis methods, lifecycle inventory data;
    - Eco-labelling and environmental labelling;
  • Circular economy and sustainability implementation 
    - Sustainable production and consumption;
    - Eco-design and eco-manufacture;
    - Product supply chain/value chain with sustainability;
    - Methods and applications of Eco-accounting, eco-cost, eco-credit, eco-shopping and eco-incentives;
    - Climate change resilience, and green-house gas emission adaptation and mitigation; 
    - Sustainable built and environment;
    - Low carbon emission buildings and sustainable construction;
    - Renewable energy; 
    - End-of-life product treatment. Remanufacture, recycle and reuse. WEEE treatment. Bio-waste treatment; 
    - Sustainable product services, leasing services, product maintenance;
    - Sustainable technology for vegetable farming and the meat supply chain; 
    - Co-creation and living labs for circular economy.
  • Development and support for circular economy and sustainability
    - Traceability, control, condition monitoring and related technologies for circular economy and sustainability;
    - Sustainability and circular economy supported by ICT technologies such as smart computing, internet of things, mobile technology, big data, cloud computing, internet technology, blockchain, etc;
    - ICT infrastructure for sustainability; 
    - Online data mining consumer preferences from e-commerce websites; 
    - Green computing; 
    - Decision-making systems for sustainability; 
    - Policy alignment for circular economy and sustainability; 
    - Education and training for circular economy and sustainability;
    - Public awareness of circular economy and sustainability;
    - Literature review for circular economy and sustainability; 
    - Other issues/fields related to circular economy and sustainability;

Prof. Daizhong Su
Chief Guest Editor

Dr. Wenjie Peng
Dr. You Wu
Dr. Hua Huang
Co-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 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

  • circular economy
  • sustainability
  • sustainable technology
  • product life cycle
  • products and services
  • sustainable production and consumption
  • information and communication technology (ICT)
  • computing
  • traceability
  • policy
  • recycle
  • reuse
  • re-manufacture

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Social Impact Analysis of Products under a Holistic Approach: A Case Study in the Meat Product Supply Chain
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12163; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112163 - 04 Nov 2021
Viewed by 438
Abstract
Social impact assessment of products can be approached through different methodologies that need to be adapted to the particularities and features of the studied subject. Thus, the Social Life Cycle Assessment methodology can be used to assess different innovative practices of product manufacturing, [...] Read more.
Social impact assessment of products can be approached through different methodologies that need to be adapted to the particularities and features of the studied subject. Thus, the Social Life Cycle Assessment methodology can be used to assess different innovative practices of product manufacturing, under a circular economy approach, by identifying potential positive as well as negative impacts along products’ life cycle. This paper presents the results of the Social Life Cycle Impact Assessment of a reference product from the Spanish meat industry using existing and new innovative methods of social impact analysis. Worker discrimination, health and safety for workers, consumers and local community were identified as the social aspects with relevant significance into the business or for the influence on customer’s perception of the products studied. Therefore, results can represent a reference scenario for the future assessment of innovative solutions in the Spanish meet sector. Despite the scarce use of Social Life Cycle Impact Assessment, this case study is a good example of how this innovative kind of assessment can be helpful for companies to identify their weak and strong social performance areas and design strategies to improve in Social Responsibility Management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy Approaches for Lifecycles of Products and Services)
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Article
Use of an Ethanol Bio-Refinery Product as a Soy Bean Alternative in Diets for Fast-Growing Meat Production Species: A Circular Economy Approach
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 11019; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131911019 - 04 Oct 2021
Viewed by 479
Abstract
The recent conceptual pivot from bioethanol production to ethanol biorefining has led to development of protein derived by fractionating the non-ethanol streams post fermentation within the plant. The aim of this study was to identify the effect of replacing dietary soy with corn-fermented [...] Read more.
The recent conceptual pivot from bioethanol production to ethanol biorefining has led to development of protein derived by fractionating the non-ethanol streams post fermentation within the plant. The aim of this study was to identify the effect of replacing dietary soy with corn-fermented protein (CFP) on performance of fast-growing meat species and the impact on the carbon footprint associated with the feed for each species. The study contains trials on 3 species, broiler, turkey and salmon. In trial one, 324 broiler chicks were allocated randomly to 36 pens distributed into 3 dietary treatments; control (0% CFP), 5% CFP and 10% CFP; for 35 days. In trial 2, 150 turkey poults were allocated to 3 treatments: control (0 CFP), 4% CFP and 8% CFP for 35 days. In trial 3, 525 Atlantic Salmon (starting weight 304 g ± 10.7 g) were raised in 15 saltwater tanks for 84 days with 5 treatments, control (0% CFP), 5% CFP, 10% CFP, 15% CFP and 20% CFP. Growth response, nutrient utilisation and carbon footprint were assessed in each trial. Replacement of soy with CFP showed limited differences in growth response and nutrient utilization but replacing soy bean meal with CFP at rate of 5%, 8% and 10% in broiler, turkey and salmon diets, respectively resulted in a 14% decrease in carbon footprint of diet manufacturing. This investigation shows coupling bioethanol production with poultry and salmon production represents a highly effective circular economy contributing to multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy Approaches for Lifecycles of Products and Services)
Article
PLM Solutions in the Process of Supporting the Implementation and Maintenance of the Circular Economy Concept in Manufacturing Companies
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10589; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910589 - 24 Sep 2021
Viewed by 567
Abstract
The Circular Economy (CE) is a priority topic for various stakeholders such as politicians, scientists, and industry. However, despite the significant interest in CE, there is still a lack of a framework explaining how manufacturing companies willing to become circular adapt their existing [...] Read more.
The Circular Economy (CE) is a priority topic for various stakeholders such as politicians, scientists, and industry. However, despite the significant interest in CE, there is still a lack of a framework explaining how manufacturing companies willing to become circular adapt their existing business model. The concept of this work is based on the use of Information Technologies such as the well-known and long-proven Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions in the implementation and maintenance of the CE concept to reduce the consumption of primary raw materials, increase employment rates, and reduce environmental damage. This paper aims to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of using the PLM approach to implement the CE concept. The authors selected the most common and effective PLM functionalities and then assessed them to support selected components of the CE concept using qualitative and quantitative methods. The performed assessment and the inter-relation matrix of benefits developed on its basis allowed for pointing out the feature combinations that would bring the best outcome. The conducted study proved that the implemented and properly working PLM solution could simultaneously support CE concepts. PLM functionalities such as (1) product development, (2) transparency, and (3) value-maximizing with the combination of CE functional areas of (1) personalization, (2) made to order, and support turned out to be particularly effective. This study contributes to ensuring an effective and quick process of implementing CE concept in manufacturing companies and moreover opens further research ideas in bringing the Circular Economy to life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy Approaches for Lifecycles of Products and Services)
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Article
Experimental Study on the Effect of Fulvic Acid in Waste Slurry on Flocculation and Zeta Potential
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7784; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147784 - 12 Jul 2021
Viewed by 599
Abstract
The waste slurry produced by the dredging of urban rivers needs to be dewatered before being reused sustainably. As a large amount of plant debris accumulates in sediment, humus-like substances become one of main components in waste slurry. In light of the lack [...] Read more.
The waste slurry produced by the dredging of urban rivers needs to be dewatered before being reused sustainably. As a large amount of plant debris accumulates in sediment, humus-like substances become one of main components in waste slurry. In light of the lack of research on the effect of fulvic acid (FA) in waste slurry on flocculation and separation, this paper carried out experimental research, including the effect of FA content on flocculation and filtration, as well as flocculation and filtration experiments of eight different sources of waste slurry. The results show that if only the FA content in the slurry is changed, the effect of FA on flocculation and separation is significant when the FA content is 0~3%, but it is not obvious when the FA content exceeds 3%. The flocculation and filtration results of eight different sources of river-dredged waste slurry are obviously different; the D10 increment can differ by nearly 10 times, and the specific resistance to filtration (SRF) differs by 2 orders of magnitude. However, FA is not a sensitive factor affecting the flocculation results. FA mainly affects the results by affecting the zeta potential of the slurry. Therefore, in the dewatering design of waste slurry, only the zeta potential needs to be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy Approaches for Lifecycles of Products and Services)
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Article
Circular Economy Matchmaking Framework for Future Marketplace Deployment
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5668; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105668 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 819
Abstract
Online marketplaces enable cooperation between potential stakeholders by supporting offer and demand identification at the secondary raw material markets. The use of marketplaces facilitates communication between supply chain actors operating within the same or different industry sectors and enables detection of ways to [...] Read more.
Online marketplaces enable cooperation between potential stakeholders by supporting offer and demand identification at the secondary raw material markets. The use of marketplaces facilitates communication between supply chain actors operating within the same or different industry sectors and enables detection of ways to close the loop of their products. This research investigated which criteria to use for the circular cooperation matching of companies in the context of a marketplace. These criteria were used for the development of a circular economy (CE) matchmaking framework based on a multi-level approach and relevance scoring between the users. The multi-level approach is based on the following criteria: (i) the compliance with circular economy principles, (ii) the material flows analysis, (iii) the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport. Based on those aspects a Total Relevance Score (TRS) between the stakeholders is calculated. The Total Relevance Score indicates the possibility for successful circular cooperation between two partners who are willing to close their loops with the best possible match. The logic behind the proposed circular economy matchmaking framework is illustrated by four cases using data collected from companies. Recommendations for further deployment are proposed. The developed framework, by incorporating circular economy principles for the first time within the matching algorithm, provides the opportunity for interested stakeholders for more tailored matching and increases their possibilities of finding a perfect match on the secondary raw materials market in terms of circularity. A similar approach has not yet been reported in the literature. The circular economy matchmaking framework constitutes a theoretical basis of an online marketplace to be developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy Approaches for Lifecycles of Products and Services)
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