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Environmental Assessment, Life Cycle Analysis and Sustainability

A topical collection in Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This collection belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

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Editors


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Collection Editor
Institute for Bio-Economy and Agri-Technology, Centre for Research and Technology, Hellas, Thermi, 57001 Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: environmental impact assessment; life cycle analysis; waste management and circular economy; sustainability; environmental informatics
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Collection Editor
Centre for Research and Technology - Hellas (CERTH), Chemical Process and Energy Resources Institute (CPERI), Laboratory of Natural Resources and Renewable Energies (NRRE),6th km Charilaou-Thermi Rd, P.O. Box 60361, GR57001, Thermi Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: Water and Wastewater Treatment; Membrane Bioreactor Technology; Agro-Industrial Waste Valorisation; Membrane Processes; Water Reuse
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Collection Editor
Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, School of Chemical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: nanotechnology; natural products; drug delivery systems; pharmaceutical technology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Collection Editor
ERA - Academy of European Law, Metzer Allee 4, D-54295 Trier, Germany
Interests: Environmental law and policy; sustainability law; resilience; climate change and energy law

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The need to build environmental considerations into decision-making, is no longer a bold proposition, but a basic necessity. To that end, Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) plays constantly an increasing role in environmental impact assessment corresponding to the growing need of achieving the short- as well as long-term aims of sustainable development. Either as a practical toolbox or as a conceptual framework, LCA constitutes a transparent and reliable way to assess the environmental impacts of products, systems or services from cradle to grave in order to pave the way towards sustainable development. Nowadays, the transition to sustainable lifestyles, products and services is very high on the political both internationally and at EU level. Therefore, the promotion of LCA as integral part of the environmental assessment tool-kit as well as of the policy development processes strengthens the transition to harmonized methodologies among different stakeholders, enhances the evolvement of efficient methods for impact assessment and facilitates communication and exchanges on life-cycle data.

This Special Issue aspires to present a selection of original and innovative papers highlighting the most challenging aspects relating to the comprehensive integration of the life cycle thinking in business and in policy making. Problems, challenges, perspectives and opportunities with respect to the different applications of the LCA will shed light on the dynamic and forward-looking nature of this tool especially in the light of the sustainable development goals and priorities. Successful paradigms of LCA methodology application on specific case studies are also welcomed. Papers on the aforementioned, as well as other relevant topics, selected for this Special Issue will be subject to a rigorous peer-review process with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

Dr. George Banias
Dr. Sotiris Patsios
Dr. Konstantinos Kontogiannopoulos
Dr. Kleoniki Pouikli
Collection Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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 2400 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

  • environmental impact assessment
  • life cycle thinking
  • environmental considerations and decision making

Published Papers (17 papers)

2024

Jump to: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019

14 pages, 2444 KiB  
Article
Environmental Impact Assessment of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Power Generation System Based on Life Cycle Assessment—A Case Study in China
by Yilin Shen, Yantao Yang, Lei Song and Tingzhou Lei
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3863; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093863 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 687
Abstract
To progress towards the “dual carbon” goal and reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of solid oxide fuel cells, this study conducts a full life cycle analysis of solid oxide fuel cells, in which the environmental impact caused by the operating devices’ [...] Read more.
To progress towards the “dual carbon” goal and reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of solid oxide fuel cells, this study conducts a full life cycle analysis of solid oxide fuel cells, in which the environmental impact caused by the operating devices’ manufacturing, fuel gas catalyst reforming, single-cell manufacturing, cell stack manufacturing, and energy consumption and emissions are systematically analysed. In this study, we establish an assessment model for solid oxide fuel cells by using the cut-off criterion. The results show that 96.5% of the global warming potential in the use of solid oxide fuel cells comes from the stack operating subsystem. The stack manufacturing subsystem, operating device manufacturing subsystem, and waste stack processing subsystem all contribute greatly to acidification, accounting for 32.89%, 44%, and 35.82% of the total acidification, respectively. These three subsystems also contribute significantly to eutrophication, contributing 23.11%, 22.03%, and 42.15%, respectively. Compared with traditional thermal power generation systems, solid oxide fuel cell power generation systems have slightly higher overall environmental benefits, and the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and acidification potential reach 6.22% and 18.52%, respectively. The research results have guiding significance and reference value for subsequent energy-saving and emission reduction design and improvement efforts for solid oxide fuel cells. Full article
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16 pages, 4175 KiB  
Article
Life Cycle Assessment of the Domestic Micro Heat and Power Generation Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell in Comparison with the Gas Condensing Boiler Plus Electricity from the Grid
by Lyubov Slotyuk, Florian Part, Moritz-Caspar Schlegel and Floris Akkerman
Sustainability 2024, 16(6), 2348; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16062348 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 894
Abstract
The energy demand of private households contributes globally to 36.5% of the total CO2 emissions. To analyze the emissions reduction potential, we conducted a comparative life cycle assessment of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell in a residential application and a conventional [...] Read more.
The energy demand of private households contributes globally to 36.5% of the total CO2 emissions. To analyze the emissions reduction potential, we conducted a comparative life cycle assessment of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell in a residential application and a conventional system with a stand-alone gas condensing boiler and electricity from a grid mix. The period under review was referred to as the service life of the PEMFC and is assumed to be 10 years (83,038 h of PEMFC). The applicability of this in a single-family house built between 1991 and 2000 under German climatic conditions was investigated. The functional unit is set to the thermal energy demand of 16,244 kWh/a and electricity demand of 4919 kWh/a of a single-family house. The impact assessment method “CML 2001–August 2016” was used in this investigation. The manufacturing phase of the proton exchange membrane fuel cell showed disadvantages, whereby the use phase had significant advantages in most of the environmental impact categories as compared to the conventional energy supply system. Considering the whole life cycle, the advantages from the use phase could outperform the disadvantages from the manufacturing phase in most of the impact categories, except for ADP elements and TETP. Full article
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2023

Jump to: 2024, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019

16 pages, 1662 KiB  
Article
Environmental Analysis of the Valorization of Woody Biomass Residues: A Comparative Study with Vine Pruning Leftovers in Portugal
by Carla L. Simões, Ricardo Simoes, Ana Sofia Gonçalves and Leonel J. R. Nunes
Sustainability 2023, 15(20), 14950; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152014950 - 17 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1037
Abstract
Evaluating Global Warming Potential (GWP) in waste management scenarios is crucial, especially in light of the escalating global concern for climate change and the pivotal role that waste management plays in mitigating this crisis. This research examines the GWP of three distinct waste [...] Read more.
Evaluating Global Warming Potential (GWP) in waste management scenarios is crucial, especially in light of the escalating global concern for climate change and the pivotal role that waste management plays in mitigating this crisis. This research examines the GWP of three distinct waste management scenarios, each with a unique approach: (1) open burning, a method involving direct combustion with a GWP of 1600.1 kg·CO2eq, chiefly attributed to direct emissions without any mitigation tactics; (2) energy recovery, which capitalizes on converting waste into energy, yielding a GWP of 1255.4 kg·CO2eq, the reduction resulting primarily from avoided heat production; and (3) pyrolysis, an advanced thermal decomposition process that remarkably registers a negative GWP of −1595.1 kg·CO2eq, mainly credited to the carbon sequestration capacity of biochar production and optimal energy conversion efficiency. These outcomes emphasize the ecological merits of waste management approaches that produce lower, or even better, negative GWP values. In particular, pyrolysis emerges as a powerful way of transforming waste management into a potential carbon sink, proving crucial for climate change counteraction. Nevertheless, for effective real-world deployment, the study highlights the importance of addressing technical, economic, and societal challenges, underscoring the need for holistic, interdisciplinary research. Full article
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31 pages, 589 KiB  
Article
Nexus between Environmental Degradation, Clean Energy, Financial Inclusion, and Poverty: Evidence with DSUR, CUP-FM, and CUP-BC Estimation
by Zhengxin Li and Md. Qamruzzaman
Sustainability 2023, 15(19), 14161; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151914161 - 25 Sep 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1676
Abstract
This research delves into the intricate interconnections among financial inclusion, the adoption of renewable energy, environmental resilience, and poverty reduction in low-income countries (LICs), lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), and sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), in light of complex issues such as poverty, environmental degradation, and sustainable [...] Read more.
This research delves into the intricate interconnections among financial inclusion, the adoption of renewable energy, environmental resilience, and poverty reduction in low-income countries (LICs), lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), and sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), in light of complex issues such as poverty, environmental degradation, and sustainable development. This work comprehensively understands the interaction between these crucial factors by utilizing a dynamic panel model, specifically Dynamic Seemingly Unrelated Regression (DSUR), CUP-FM, and CUP-BC. The empirical analysis conducted in our study has produced findings that are both significant and noteworthy. Financial inclusion pertains to facilitating formal financial services for demographic segments that have historically been marginalized or excluded. A negative relationship between financial inclusion and poverty levels in low-income countries (LICs), lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), and sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been observed. Moreover, there is an inverse correlation between the utilization of renewable energy sources and poverty, indicating that the utilization of renewable energy sources possesses the potential to catalyze the enhancement of economic conditions and overall welfare. However, it is important to note that the correlation between environmental deterioration and poverty underscores the urgent necessity for implementing comprehensive policies that address sustainability and poverty reduction. The results above shed light on the potential for governmental interventions to promote positive transformations. Improving endeavors to achieve financial inclusion holds the capacity to empower individuals and businesses alike, fostering economic progress and alleviating poverty. Renewable energy technology is progressively acknowledged as a viable strategy to promote economic advancement and tackle environmental issues simultaneously. It is of utmost importance to establish comprehensive policy frameworks that effectively tackle the intricate interplay between environmental degradation and poverty to create a future that is both sustainable and egalitarian. Full article
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20 pages, 2047 KiB  
Article
Examining Practices of Apparel Use and End of Life in New Zealand
by Mitali Nautiyal, Amabel Hunting, Frances Joseph and Donna Cleveland
Sustainability 2023, 15(6), 5141; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15065141 - 14 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2547
Abstract
Throughout a garment’s life cycle, the use and end-of-life phases are crucial in determining its environmental impact, due to the resources that would be utilised and waste produced during maintenance and disposal. Consumption patterns differ among countries and cultures; however, in New Zealand, [...] Read more.
Throughout a garment’s life cycle, the use and end-of-life phases are crucial in determining its environmental impact, due to the resources that would be utilised and waste produced during maintenance and disposal. Consumption patterns differ among countries and cultures; however, in New Zealand, there is limited published information to date. To address this gap, an anonymous online poll was conducted examining laundry practices, lifetime wear events and disposal practices for woollen and synthetic-blend knitted jumpers, which are predominantly used as winter clothing in New Zealand. The survey revealed considerable differences in the ways woollen and synthetic garments were worn, maintained and discarded. Over its lifetime, although woollen garments were worn a greater number of times, they were washed less. At the end of life, both types of jumpers showed significant reuse percentages. This information is useful for accurately modelling the inventory needed for assessing the environmental implication of apparel, using the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. By comparing New Zealand’s washing and disposal practises to those of other countries, this study found significant differences, highlighting the need for country-specific data for future LCAs. Full article
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21 pages, 795 KiB  
Article
Environmental Effect Evaluation: A Quantile-Type Path-Modeling Approach
by Hao Cheng
Sustainability 2023, 15(5), 4399; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15054399 - 1 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1167
Abstract
The environment is a key element that affects many aspects of our society, including the economy, education and talents. In this article, the main purpose is to provide statistical models, algorithms and quantitative evidence regarding environmental effect evaluation (EEE). To accomplish this investigation, [...] Read more.
The environment is a key element that affects many aspects of our society, including the economy, education and talents. In this article, the main purpose is to provide statistical models, algorithms and quantitative evidence regarding environmental effect evaluation (EEE). To accomplish this investigation, I first establish a theoretical EEE model and then apply a quantile-type path-modeling algorithm in the developed EEE model at different quantile levels. In the real-data analysis, this article investigates hypotheses regarding this theoretical EEE model and illustrates the statistical performances of quantile-type path-modeling EEE estimators through bootstraps. The results mainly illustrate that the environment has indispensable impacts on the economy, education and science and technology talent directly and has indirect effects on scientific infrastructure and science and technology output. Compared with the existing classical path-modeling algorithm, quantile-type path-modeling EEE estimators make full use of quantile regression and then overcome the classical exploration of only average effects. Both the quantile-type EEE model and quantile-type path-modeling algorithm capture changes in the relations among constructs and between the constructs and observed variables, and this helps to analyze the entire distribution of the outcome variables in this EEE model. Full article
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21 pages, 1331 KiB  
Article
Comparative Assessment of Environmental/Energy Performance under Conventional Labor and Collaborative Robot Scenarios in Greek Viticulture
by Emmanouil Tziolas, Eleftherios Karapatzak, Ioannis Kalathas, Chris Lytridis, Spyridon Mamalis, Stefanos Koundouras, Theodore Pachidis and Vassilis G. Kaburlasos
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2753; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032753 - 2 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2002
Abstract
The viticultural sector is facing a significant maturation phase, dealing with environmental challenges to reduce agrochemical application and energy consumption, while labor shortages are increasing throughout Europe and beyond. Autonomous collaborative robots are an emerging technology and an alternative to the scarcity of [...] Read more.
The viticultural sector is facing a significant maturation phase, dealing with environmental challenges to reduce agrochemical application and energy consumption, while labor shortages are increasing throughout Europe and beyond. Autonomous collaborative robots are an emerging technology and an alternative to the scarcity of human labor in agriculture. Additionally, collaborative robots could provide sustainable solutions to the growing energy demand of the sector due to their skillful precision and continuous labor. This study presents an impact assessment regarding energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of collaborative robots in four Greek vineyards implementing a life cycle assessment approach. Eight scenarios were developed in order to assess the annual production of four Vitis vinifera L. cultivars, namely, Asyrtiko, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Tempranillo, integrating data from two wineries for 3 consecutive years. For each conventional cultivation scenario, an alternative was developed, substituting conventional viticultural practices with collaborative robots. The results showed that collaborative robots’ scenarios could achieve a positive environmental and energy impact compared with conventional strategies. The major reason for lower impacts is fossil fuel consumption and the efficiency of the selected robots, though there are limitations regarding their functionality, lifetime, and production. The alternative scenarios have varying energy demand and environmental impact, potentially impacting agrochemical usage and requiring new policy adjustments, leading to increased complexity and potential controversy in farm management. In this context, this study shows the benefits of collaborative robots intended to replace conventional practices in a number of viticultural operations in order to cope with climate change impacts and excessive energy consumption. Full article
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2022

Jump to: 2024, 2023, 2021, 2020, 2019

12 pages, 956 KiB  
Article
Estimation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Petrol, Biodiesel and Battery Electric Vehicles in Malaysia Based on Life Cycle Approach
by Shoki Kosai, Sazalina Zakaria, Hang Seng Che, Md Hasanuzzaman, Nasrudin Abd Rahim, Chiakwang Tan, Radin Diana R. Ahmad, Ahmad Rosly Abbas, Katsuyuki Nakano, Eiji Yamasue, Wei Kian Woon and Ammar Harith Ahmad Amer
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 5783; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14105783 - 10 May 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4393
Abstract
A steady rise in the ownership of vehicles in Malaysia has drawn attention to the need for more effective strategies to reduce the emissions of the road transport sector. Although the electrification of vehicles and replacing petrol with biofuel are the strategies being [...] Read more.
A steady rise in the ownership of vehicles in Malaysia has drawn attention to the need for more effective strategies to reduce the emissions of the road transport sector. Although the electrification of vehicles and replacing petrol with biofuel are the strategies being considered in Malaysia, these strategies have yet to be fully evaluated from an environmental perspective. In this study, a life cycle assessment was conducted to compare the greenhouse gas emissions of different types of transportation means (passenger cars, two-wheelers (motorbikes), and buses) with several types of powertrains (petrol, biodiesel, electricity) based on multiple lifecycle stages in Malaysia. The impact of considering land use change for the biodiesel production in the LCA was also considered in this study. It was found that the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles fueled by petrol to electric vehicles would reduce the greenhouse gas emission for passenger cars, two-wheelers, and buses. However, because the greenhouse gas emissions of biodiesel-fueled vehicles are higher than those of petrol-fueled vehicles, even without considering land use change, the results indicate that the transition from a 10% to 20% biofuel blend, which is a current strategy in Malaysia, will not result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the transport sector in Malaysia. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2024, 2023, 2022, 2020, 2019

20 pages, 4380 KiB  
Article
Development, Application and Challenges of Set Pair Analysis in Environmental Science from 1989 to 2020: A Bibliometric Review
by Weiqi Xiang, Xiaohua Yang, Pius Babuna and Dehui Bian
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010153 - 24 Dec 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3283
Abstract
Set pair analysis is a new intelligent algorithm for dealing with complex uncertain problems, and it is widely used in environmental science because of its concise structure and scalability of results. However, it is still unclear about the development stage distribution of set [...] Read more.
Set pair analysis is a new intelligent algorithm for dealing with complex uncertain problems, and it is widely used in environmental science because of its concise structure and scalability of results. However, it is still unclear about the development stage distribution of set pair analysis in environmental science and the specific development and application in key areas. Therefore, based on the method of bibliometrics, this paper studies the development, application and challenges of set pair analysis in environmental science over the past 32 years (1989–2020). The analysis found that in terms of time dimension, the development process of set pair analysis is divided into three stages: the initial stage (1989–2011); the rapid development stage (2012–2015); the steady development stage (2016 to present). In terms of specific fields, this article focuses on the development and application of set pair analysis in the three fields of ecology, water resources, and atmospheric environmental science. It is found that set pair analysis is mainly used for environmental assessment, diagnosis and prediction. In particular, the development of partial connection numbers is a new research trend of set pair analysis, which plays an important role in environmental assessment, diagnosis and prediction. However, the current set pair analysis also has the shortcomings of strong subjectivity, an imperfect theoretical system, and unbalanced development at home and abroad. Only when these deficiencies are solved, can the development of set pair analysis in environmental science be further promoted. Full article
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16 pages, 2734 KiB  
Article
Developing Conversion Factors of LCIA Methods for Comparison of LCA Results in the Construction Sector
by Yahong Dong, Md. Uzzal Hossain, Hongyang Li and Peng Liu
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9016; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169016 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 5931
Abstract
The inconsistency caused by different life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods is a long-term challenge for the life cycle assessment (LCA) community. It is necessary to systematically analyze the differences caused by LCIA methods and facilitate the fair comparison of LCA results. This [...] Read more.
The inconsistency caused by different life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods is a long-term challenge for the life cycle assessment (LCA) community. It is necessary to systematically analyze the differences caused by LCIA methods and facilitate the fair comparison of LCA results. This study proposes an effective method of conversion factors (CFs) for converting the results of 8 LCIA methods for 14 impact categories and then demonstrates its application in the construction sector. Correlation analyses of the datasets of construction materials are conducted to develop CFs for the impact categories. A set of conversion cards are devised to present the CFs and the associated correlation information for the LCIA methods. It is revealed that the differences between LCIA methods are largely caused by the characterization methods, rather than due to the metrics. A comparison based only on the same metrics but ignoring the underlying LCIA mechanisms is misleading. High correlations are observed for the impact categories of climate change, acidification, eutrophication, and resource depletion. The developed CFs and conversion cards can greatly help LCA practitioners in the fair comparison of LCA results from different LCIA methods. Case studies are conducted, and verify that by applying the CFs the seemingly incomparable results from different LCIA methods become comparable. The CF method addresses the inconsistency problem of LCIA methods in a practical manner and helps improve the comparability and reliability of LCA studies in the construction sector. Suggestions are provided for the further development of LCIA conversion factors. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, 2019

17 pages, 3638 KiB  
Article
A Life Cycle Analysis Approach for the Evaluation of Municipal Solid Waste Management Practices: The Case Study of the Region of Central Macedonia, Greece
by Georgios Banias, Maria Batsioula, Charisios Achillas, Sotiris I. Patsios, Konstantinos N. Kontogiannopoulos, Dionysis Bochtis and Nicolas Moussiopoulos
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8221; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198221 - 6 Oct 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 5928
Abstract
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management has been a major problem of modern cities for many years. Thus, the development of optimal waste management strategies has been a priority for the European Commission, especially in the transition toward a circular economy. In this paper, [...] Read more.
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management has been a major problem of modern cities for many years. Thus, the development of optimal waste management strategies has been a priority for the European Commission, especially in the transition toward a circular economy. In this paper, an analysis of different MSW treatment methods that can be effectively implemented in the Region of Central Macedonia (RCM) is provided, and their comparison from an environmental point of view is performed. The assessment is based on real data indicated in the recently updated Greek National Waste Management Plan, whereas the different scenarios developed include landfilling without energy recovery, landfilling with energy recovery, recycling and secondary materials recovery, mechanical-biological treatment, bio-waste composting and anaerobic digestion with energy recovery, and incineration with energy recovery. The obtained results illustrate that efficient waste streams sorting is of vital importance for the effective implementation of an integrated waste management system toward the sustainable management of MSW. Full article
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24 pages, 5591 KiB  
Article
A Life Cycle Assessment of Biomass Production from Energy Crops in Crop Rotation Using Different Tillage System
by Anna Vatsanidou, Christos Kavalaris, Spyros Fountas, Nikolaos Katsoulas and Theofanis Gemtos
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6978; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176978 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2894
Abstract
A three-year experiment was carried out in Central Greece to assess the use of different tillage practices (Conventional, Reduced, and No tillage) for seedbed preparation, in a double cropping per year rotation of irrigated and rainfed energy crops for biomass production for first- [...] Read more.
A three-year experiment was carried out in Central Greece to assess the use of different tillage practices (Conventional, Reduced, and No tillage) for seedbed preparation, in a double cropping per year rotation of irrigated and rainfed energy crops for biomass production for first- and second-generation biofuel production. A life cycle assessment (LCA) study was performed for the first year of crop rotation to evaluate the environmental impact of using different tillage practices, identifying the processes with greater influence on the overall environmental burden (hotspots) and demonstrating the potential environmental benefits from the land management change. LCA results revealed that fertilizer application and diesel fuel consumption, as well as their production stages, were the hot-spot processes for each treatment. In the present study, different tillage treatments compared using mass- and area-based functional unit (FU), revealing that reduced tillage, using strip tillage for spring crop and disc harrow for winter crops, and no tillage treatment had the best environmental performance, respectively. Comparison between the prevailing in the area monoculture cotton crop with the proposed double energy crop rotation adopting conservation tillage practices, using mass and energy value FU, showed that cotton crop had higher environmental impact. Full article
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25 pages, 4216 KiB  
Article
Life Cycle Assessment of Variable Rate Fertilizer Application in a Pear Orchard
by Anna Vatsanidou, Spyros Fountas, Vasileios Liakos, George Nanos, Nikolaos Katsoulas and Theofanis Gemtos
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6893; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176893 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3571
Abstract
Precision Agriculture (PA) is a crop site-specific management system that aims for sustainability, adopting agricultural practices more friendly to the environment, like the variable rate application (VRA) technique. Many studies have dealt with the effectiveness of VRA to reduce nitrogen (N) fertilizer, while [...] Read more.
Precision Agriculture (PA) is a crop site-specific management system that aims for sustainability, adopting agricultural practices more friendly to the environment, like the variable rate application (VRA) technique. Many studies have dealt with the effectiveness of VRA to reduce nitrogen (N) fertilizer, while achieving increased profit and productivity. However, only limited attention was given to VRA’s environmental impact. In this study an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) based Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) performed to identify the environmental effects of N VRA on a small pear orchard, compared to the conventional uniform application. A Cradle to Gate system with a functional unit (FU) of 1 kg of pears was analyzed including high quality primary data of two productive years, including also the non-productive years, as well as all the emissions during pear growing and the supply chains of all inputs, projecting them to the lifespan of the orchard. A methodology was adopted, modelling individual years and averaging over the orchard’s lifetime. Results showed that Climate change, Water scarcity, Fossil fuels and Particulate formation were the most contributing impact categories to the overall environmental impact of the pear orchard lifespan, where climate change and particulates were largely determined by CO2, N2O, and NH3 emissions to the air from fertilizer production and application, and as CO2 from tractor use. Concerning fertilization practice, when VRA was combined with a high yield year, this resulted in significantly reduced environmental impact. LCA evaluating an alternative fertilizer management system in a Greek pear orchard revealed the environmental impact reduction potential of that system. Full article
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12 pages, 1930 KiB  
Article
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Proves that Manila Clam Farming (Ruditapes Philippinarum) is a Fully Sustainable Aquaculture Practice and a Carbon Sink
by Edoardo Turolla, Giuseppe Castaldelli, Elisa Anna Fano and Elena Tamburini
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5252; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135252 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 6015
Abstract
Manila clam (Ruditapes philippinarum, Adams and Reeve, 1850) farming is a quantitatively important and valuable form of aquaculture production worldwide but, to our best knowledge, no life cycle assessments (LCA) have been undertaken on it. However, being a filter feeder and [...] Read more.
Manila clam (Ruditapes philippinarum, Adams and Reeve, 1850) farming is a quantitatively important and valuable form of aquaculture production worldwide but, to our best knowledge, no life cycle assessments (LCA) have been undertaken on it. However, being a filter feeder and producing a thick shell during the growing cycle, the capacity of Manila clam to remove nutrients, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous from the marine environment potentially has some positive effects on the environment. This study was performed in the Sacca di Goro lagoon, located in the southernmost part of the Po River Delta, in the northwestern Adriatic Sea. The LCA of clam farming from a cradle-to-gate perspective have been carried out, including the production stages as seed procuring, sowing, harvesting, depuration and packaging to obtain 1 ton of fresh ready-to-sell clams. The results show that area preparation, fuel combustion and plastic bags were the main contributors to the environmental impacts. The potential capability as a carbon sink of 1 ton of clams has been calculated and the effects on eutrophication reduction by fixing nitrogen and phosphorous in shells, with a net sequestration of 444.55 kg of CO2, 1.54 kg of N and 0.31 kg of P per year. Full article
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18 pages, 2270 KiB  
Article
Sustainability of Mussel (Mytilus Galloprovincialis) Farming in the Po River Delta, Northern Italy, Based on a Life Cycle Assessment Approach
by Elena Tamburini, Edoardo Turolla, Elisa Anna Fano and Giuseppe Castaldelli
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3814; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093814 - 7 May 2020
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 5638
Abstract
Molluscan shellfish aquaculture is considered a “green” industry because of the limited presence of chemicals and risk of pathogens during farming in licensed areas, which provide a safe, nutritive and healthy food source. Moreover, the environmental impact of their production is lower than [...] Read more.
Molluscan shellfish aquaculture is considered a “green” industry because of the limited presence of chemicals and risk of pathogens during farming in licensed areas, which provide a safe, nutritive and healthy food source. Moreover, the environmental impact of their production is lower than all other fish animal per unit of protein. In particular, mussels’ production was the first organized mollusk aquaculture in Europe and is now one of the most extended. Italy is the second main European producer of mussels. Taking into account the relevance of the sector, Italian Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) aquaculture has been considered for a life cycle assessment (LCA), from a cradle-to-gate perspective. The mussel farms were located in the northern Adriatic Sea, close to the Po River Delta, a region traditionally vocated to bivalve aquaculture. Results have shown that the growing and harvesting phases are the most critical life cycle stages (“hotspots”) due to the production and use of boats, and the great quantity of non-recyclable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) socks used during the yearly productive cycle. Several improvement potentials have been identified and estimated by means of a sensitivity analysis. Furthermore, regarding the principal exporting countries to Italy (Spain and Chile), the transport factors in an overall sustainability assessment have been considered, in order to compare the local and global mussels supply chain. Full article
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2019

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35 pages, 7351 KiB  
Article
Implementation Barriers for a System of Environmental-Economic Accounting in Developing Countries and Its Implications for Monitoring Sustainable Development Goals
by Viktor Pirmana, Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Rutger Hoekstra and Arnold Tukker
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6417; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226417 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5591
Abstract
The desire to include environmental information in national accounts has resulted in the construction of a system of environmental-economic accounting (SEEA). As the international statistical standard for environmental-economic accounting, the SEEA can provide valuable support for monitoring Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This study [...] Read more.
The desire to include environmental information in national accounts has resulted in the construction of a system of environmental-economic accounting (SEEA). As the international statistical standard for environmental-economic accounting, the SEEA can provide valuable support for monitoring Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This study assesses the potential use of the SEEA for monitoring SDGs. This paper shows that, in theory, the potential for this system is significant. However, based on a literature review and survey of SEEA experts, practical problems in implementing the SEEA are significant, especially in developing countries. Such issues include data availability and quality, as well as the availability of funding and human resources. Capacity development is key to establishing successful implementation of the SEEA in developing countries. For example, the World Bank’s WAVES program (Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services) has been instrumental in capacity building in developing countries, which, however, still show great variation in how they implement SEEA. Full article
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16 pages, 1150 KiB  
Article
Past Performance, Organizational Aspiration, and Organizational Performance: The Moderating Effect of Environmental Jolts
by Chunjia Hu, Haili Zhang, Michael Song and Dapeng Liang
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4217; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154217 - 5 Aug 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3574
Abstract
Previous research has implied that past performance and organizational aspiration may have an important effect on the sustainable growth of organizational performance. Under the conditions of environmental jolts, their relationships are more complicated to discern. However, few studies have undertaken this investigation. Using [...] Read more.
Previous research has implied that past performance and organizational aspiration may have an important effect on the sustainable growth of organizational performance. Under the conditions of environmental jolts, their relationships are more complicated to discern. However, few studies have undertaken this investigation. Using data from 183 U.S. firms, this study proposes and tests a theoretical model of the relationships between past performance, organizational aspiration, and organizational performance at different environmental jolt levels. Through hierarchical regression analysis, the empirical findings suggest that low levels of environmental jolt weaken the positive relationship between organizational aspiration and organizational performance, while high levels of environmental jolt magnify the positive influence of past performance on organizational performance. Most importantly, the empirical findings reveal that at low levels of environmental jolt, past performance has no effect on organizational performance, while organizational aspiration has no effect on organizational performance when the level of environmental jolt is high. These interesting findings provide some implications for managers and enrich the theory of sustainable development. Full article
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