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Resources, Volume 10, Issue 4 (April 2021) – 12 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Industrial wastewater is currently a significant source of pollution. However, with the increased uptake of emerging technologies, resources may be recovered from industrial wastewater, improving environmental and economic outcomes. This article reviews the steps and stages involved in implementing resource recovery, such as understanding waste streams and identifying unique opportunities, classification schemes, and new methods of capturing value from components that would otherwise be disposed of. The academic, industrial, and commercial literatures are combined to provide an overview of emerging technologies and to identify avenues for future investigation. View this paper
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Article
How Does Sustainability Affect Consumer Choices in the Fashion Industry?
Resources 2021, 10(4), 38; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040038 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1533
Abstract
The fashion industry being one of the most polluting industries in the world means that it is an industry with an immense potential for change. Consumers are central and are closely intertwined with how companies act. This research reflects consumer perspectives and practices [...] Read more.
The fashion industry being one of the most polluting industries in the world means that it is an industry with an immense potential for change. Consumers are central and are closely intertwined with how companies act. This research reflects consumer perspectives and practices towards the topic of sustainability implemented in the fashion industry. The relevance of sustainability in the fashion industry and the key role of consumers in its implementation are undeniable and confirmed by consumers in a representation of general awareness and concern, despite not always being translated into actual practices. A qualitative research methodology, followed by a set of interviews conducted with consumers, revealed that the great majority are implementing a variety of practices when making their buying choices towards fashion items. Barriers such as lack of education, information, knowledge and transparency were identified, and this aspect was shared by consumers as a reason why they are not motivated to make more conscious decisions. Companies should educate consumers from a general perspective and focus on the group of consumers that are not implementing sustainability in the fashion industry in their buying choices, as they represent the potential for the future. Full article
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Article
The Potential and Limitations of Critical Raw Material Recycling: The Case of LED Lamps
Resources 2021, 10(4), 37; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040037 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 954
Abstract
Supply risks and environmental concerns drive the interest in critical raw material recycling in the European Union. Globally, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is projected to increase by almost 40% until 2030. This waste stream can be a source of secondary raw [...] Read more.
Supply risks and environmental concerns drive the interest in critical raw material recycling in the European Union. Globally, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is projected to increase by almost 40% until 2030. This waste stream can be a source of secondary raw materials. The determination of the economic feasibility of recycling and recovering specific materials is a data-intensive, time-consuming, and case-specific task. This study introduced a two-part evaluation scheme consisting of upper continental crust concentrations and raw material prices as a simple tool to indicate the potential and limitations of critical raw material recycling. It was applied to the case of light-emitting diodes (LED) lamps in the EU. A material flow analysis was conducted, and the projected waste amounts were analyzed using the new scheme. Indium, gallium, and the rare earth elements appeared in low concentrations and low absolute masses and showed only a small revenue potential. Precious metals represented the largest revenue share. Future research should confirm the validity and usefulness of the evaluation scheme. Full article
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Article
On the Management of Nature-Based Solutions in Open-Air Laboratories: New Insights and Future Perspectives
Resources 2021, 10(4), 36; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040036 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1376
Abstract
The adoption of Nature-Based Solutions (NBSs) represents a novel means to mitigate natural hazards. In the framework of the OPERANDUM project, this study introduces a methodology to assess the efficiency of the NBSs and a series of Open-Air Laboratories (OALs) regarded as a [...] Read more.
The adoption of Nature-Based Solutions (NBSs) represents a novel means to mitigate natural hazards. In the framework of the OPERANDUM project, this study introduces a methodology to assess the efficiency of the NBSs and a series of Open-Air Laboratories (OALs) regarded as a proof-of-concept for the wider uptake of NBSs. The OALs are located in Finland, Greece, UK, Italy, and Ireland. The methodology is based on a wide modeling activity, incorporated in the context of future climate scenarios. Herein, we present a series of models’ chains able to estimate the efficiency of the NBSs. While the presented models are mainly well-established, their coupling represents a first fundamental step in the study of the long-term efficacy and impact of the NBSs. In the selected sites, NBSs are utilized to cope with distinct natural hazards: floods, droughts, landslides, salt intrusion, and nutrient and sediment loading. The study of the efficacy of NBSs to mitigate these hazards belongs to a series of works devoted to the implementation of NBSs for environmental purposes. Our findings prove that land management plays a crucial role in the process. Specifically, the selected NBSs include intensive forestry; the conversion of urban areas to grassland; dunes; marine seagrass; water retention ponds; live cribwalls; and high-density plantations of woody vegetation and deep-rooted herbaceous vegetation. The management of natural resources should eventually consider the effect of NBSs on urban and rural areas, as their employment is becoming widespread. Full article
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Article
Understanding the Opportunities, Barriers, and Enablers for the Commercialization and Transfer of Technologies for Mine Waste Valorization: A Case Study of Coal Processing Wastes in South Africa
Resources 2021, 10(4), 35; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040035 - 14 Apr 2021
Viewed by 630
Abstract
The mining and minerals beneficiation industries produce large volumes of waste, the land disposal of which can lead to harmful environmental emissions and a loss of valuable resources. Globally, researchers are developing technologies for recovering valuable minerals and converting mine waste into a [...] Read more.
The mining and minerals beneficiation industries produce large volumes of waste, the land disposal of which can lead to harmful environmental emissions and a loss of valuable resources. Globally, researchers are developing technologies for recovering valuable minerals and converting mine waste into a resource with market value. However, university-developed technological innovations to long-term environmental problems can be difficult to transfer to the mining industry. This paper focuses on the barriers and enablers to technology transfer in the South African mining industry using the valorization of coal processing waste as a case study. Data and information derived from interviews with relevant experts and published literature were used to gain a better understanding of the landscape of waste valorization technology implementation. Results indicated that financial considerations and demonstration of technical feasibility will be vital in determining the success of technology transfer, as will a changing perception of waste and its value within the sector. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and boutique waste processors were identified as potential commercial partners for further development and commercial implementation of university-developed waste valorization technologies within the mining sector. Full article
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Review
Fermentation of Biodegradable Organic Waste by the Family Thermotogaceae
Resources 2021, 10(4), 34; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040034 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 790
Abstract
The abundance of organic waste generated from agro-industrial processes throughout the world has become an environmental concern that requires immediate action in order to make the global economy sustainable and circular. Great attention has been paid to convert such nutrient-rich organic waste into [...] Read more.
The abundance of organic waste generated from agro-industrial processes throughout the world has become an environmental concern that requires immediate action in order to make the global economy sustainable and circular. Great attention has been paid to convert such nutrient-rich organic waste into useful materials for sustainable agricultural practices. Instead of being an environmental hazard, biodegradable organic waste represents a promising resource for the production of high value-added products such as bioenergy, biofertilizers, and biopolymers. The ability of some hyperthermophilic bacteria, e.g., the genera Thermotoga and Pseudothermotoga, to anaerobically ferment waste with the concomitant formation of bioproducts has generated great interest in the waste management sector. These biotechnologically significant bacteria possess a complementary set of thermostable enzymes to degrade complex sugars, with high production rates of biohydrogen gas and organic molecules such as acetate and lactate. Their high growth temperatures allow not only lower contamination risks but also improve substrate solubilization. This review highlights the promises and challenges related to using Thermotoga and Pseudothermotoga spp. as sustainable systems to convert a wide range of biodegradable organic waste into high value-added products. Full article
Article
Mineral Deposits Safeguarding and Land Use Planning—The Importance of Creating Shared Value
Resources 2021, 10(4), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040033 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 758
Abstract
During the last few decades many European countries have developed policies directed towards mineral deposit safeguarding. However, as other land uses often are in conflict with mineral deposit safeguarding, the implementation of these policies is many times more difficult in practice. The aim [...] Read more.
During the last few decades many European countries have developed policies directed towards mineral deposit safeguarding. However, as other land uses often are in conflict with mineral deposit safeguarding, the implementation of these policies is many times more difficult in practice. The aim of this paper is to investigate the link between land use planning and mineral resources, when using a shared value perspective. The analysis is focused on the mineral-rich Nordic countries—Sweden, Norway and Finland—and a number of mining projects are analyzed. The analysis rests in Porter and Kramer’s arguments for the importance of creating shared values. The results indicate that a shared value perspective has been present in the analyzed case studies, as many of the key ways for creating shared value are identified in the projects. This illustrates the importance of linking social value to economic value in mining projects, even if this is not clearly stated in the relevant legislation. As it is often the unpredictability of the regulatory framework that hinders mineral extraction, it is suggested that Social Impact Assessments (or similar) are formalized in the regulatory framework to ensure that social value is linked more clearly to the land use process related to access to minerals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Editorial
Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis of Resource Recovery from Waste Management Systems in a Circular Economy Perspective Key Findings from This Special Issue
Resources 2021, 10(4), 32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040032 - 09 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 923
Abstract
The generation and management of waste are gaining increasing attention worldwide as two main focuses of the environmental strategies and policies developed to date at the European level [...] Full article
Article
Critical Tectonic Limits for Geothermal Aquifer Use: Case Study from the East Slovakian Basin Rim
Resources 2021, 10(4), 31; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040031 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 694
Abstract
The Pannonian basin is a major geothermal heat system in Central Europe. Its peripheral basin, the East Slovakian basin, is an example of a geothermal structure with a linear, directed heat flow ranging from 90 to 100 mW/m2 from west to east. [...] Read more.
The Pannonian basin is a major geothermal heat system in Central Europe. Its peripheral basin, the East Slovakian basin, is an example of a geothermal structure with a linear, directed heat flow ranging from 90 to 100 mW/m2 from west to east. However, the use of the geothermal source is limited by several critical tectono-geologic factors: (a) Tectonics, and the associated disintegration of the aquifer block by multiple deformations during the pre-Paleogene, mainly Miocene, period. The main discontinuities of NW-SE and N-S direction negatively affect the permeability of the aquifer environment. For utilization, minor NE-SW dilatation open fractures are important, which have been developed by sinistral transtension on N–S faults and accelerated normal movements to the southeast. (b) Hydrogeologically, the geothermal structure is accommodated by three water types, namely, Na-HCO3 with 10.9 g·L−1 mineralization (in the north), the Ca-Mg-HCO3 with 0.5–4.5 g·L−1 mineralization (in the west), and Na-Cl water type containing 26.8–33.4 g·L−1 mineralization (in the southwest). The chemical composition of the water is influenced by the Middle Triassic dolomite aquifer, as well as by infiltration of saline solutions and meteoric waters along with open fractures/faults. (c) Geothermally anomalous heat flow of 123–129 °C with 170 L/s total flow near the Slanské vchy volcanic chain seems to be the perspective for heat production. Full article
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Article
Not Mining Sterilization of Explored Mineral Resources. The Example of Native Sulfur Deposits in Poland Case History
Resources 2021, 10(4), 30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040030 - 31 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 760
Abstract
The sterilization of mineral resources makes considerable amounts inaccessible for future use and may be a barrier to the free supply of commodities. During the exploitation of mineral deposits, some parts of their resources become sterilized as inaccessible because of natural hazards or [...] Read more.
The sterilization of mineral resources makes considerable amounts inaccessible for future use and may be a barrier to the free supply of commodities. During the exploitation of mineral deposits, some parts of their resources become sterilized as inaccessible because of natural hazards or unfavorable economic conditions. Not mining land use and the social opposition against mining is the purpose of sterilization of considerable demonstrated mineral resources of deposits not yet engaged in exploitation. The native sulfur deposits in Poland are a good example of such “not mining” sterilization, which makes a considerable part of known resources inaccessible. On the northern border of the Carpathian Foredeep within the Miocene gypsum formation, the systematic exploration had demonstrated about 1 billion tons of sulfur resources located in the deposits of varied dimensions. The sulfur opencast mining and underground melting (the modified Frasch method) flourished from 1958 up to 1993. The increasing sulfur supply, recoverable from hydrocarbons, caused the closing down of sulfur mines, leaving a place with considerable untouched resources. About 67% of sulfur resources left by closed mines and of other explored but not exploited deposits are sterilized by the advancement of settlements, industrial plants, road construction, and by social opposition against mining. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Review
Selection of Industrial Trade Waste Resource Recovery Technologies—A Systematic Review
Resources 2021, 10(4), 29; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040029 - 29 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1092
Abstract
Industrial wastewater and other trade wastes are often sources of pollution which can cause environmental damage. However, resource recovery approaches have the potential to lead to positive environmental outcomes, profits, and new sources of finite commodities. Information on these waste sources, and the [...] Read more.
Industrial wastewater and other trade wastes are often sources of pollution which can cause environmental damage. However, resource recovery approaches have the potential to lead to positive environmental outcomes, profits, and new sources of finite commodities. Information on these waste sources, and the valuable components which may be contained in such waste is increasingly being made available by public, academic and commercial stakeholders (including companies active in meat processing, dairy, brewing, textile and other sectors). Utilising academic and industry literature, this review evaluates several methods of resource recovery (e.g., bioreactors, membrane technologies, and traditional chemical processes) and their advantages and disadvantages in a trade waste setting. This review lays the groundwork for classification of waste and resource recovery technologies, in order to inform process choices, which may lead to wider commercial application of these technologies. Although each waste source and recovery process is unique, membrane bioreactors show promise for a wide range of resource recovery applications. Despite interest, uptake of resource recovery technologies remains low, or not widely championed. For this to change, knowledge needs to increase in several key areas including: availabilities and classification of trade wastes, technology choice processes, and industrial viability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resource Recovery from Wastewater)
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Technical Note
Artificial Intelligence in the Sorting of Municipal Waste as an Enabler of the Circular Economy
Resources 2021, 10(4), 28; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040028 - 29 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1594
Abstract
The recently finalized research project “ZRR for municipal waste” aimed at testing and evaluating the automation of municipal waste sorting plants by supplementing or replacing manual sorting, with sorting by a robot with artificial intelligence (ZRR). The objectives were to increase the current [...] Read more.
The recently finalized research project “ZRR for municipal waste” aimed at testing and evaluating the automation of municipal waste sorting plants by supplementing or replacing manual sorting, with sorting by a robot with artificial intelligence (ZRR). The objectives were to increase the current recycling rates and the purity of the recovered materials; to collect additional materials from the current rejected flows; and to improve the working conditions of the workers, who could then concentrate on, among other things, the maintenance of the robots. Based on the empirical results of the project, this paper presents the main results of the training and operation of the robotic sorting system based on artificial intelligence, which, to our knowledge, is the first attempt at an application for the separation of bulky municipal solid waste (MSW) and an installation in a full-scale waste treatment plant. The key questions for the research project included (a) the design of test protocols to assess the quality of the sorting process and (b) the evaluation of the performance quality in the first six months of the training of the underlying artificial intelligence and its database. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Municipal and Industrial Waste Management)
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Article
Water Resources, Forced Migration and Tensions with Host Communities in the Nigerian Part of the Lake Chad Basin
Resources 2021, 10(4), 27; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040027 - 28 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1055
Abstract
The Lake Chad region is facing a nexus of interconnected problems including fragility, violent conflict, forced displacement, and scarcity of water and other resources, further aggravated by climate change. Focusing on northeast Nigeria, this study aims to answer the following questions: (1) What [...] Read more.
The Lake Chad region is facing a nexus of interconnected problems including fragility, violent conflict, forced displacement, and scarcity of water and other resources, further aggravated by climate change. Focusing on northeast Nigeria, this study aims to answer the following questions: (1) What role does access to water and farming play in out-migration and return in northeast Nigeria? (2) What is the potential of tensions between internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities? Data for this study were collected between March and May 2019 by interviewing 304 local residents and IDPs in northeast Nigeria, as well as experts on migration, environmental, humanitarian and conflict-related issues in research centers and governmental institutions in Abuja. Given the pronounced water scarcity in the region, the results show that between 47% and 95% of rural community members interviewed in northeast Nigeria would be willing to migrate in cases of water scarcity. At the time of study, only 2.5% to 7% of respondents had migrated previously in response to water scarcity, indicating that insecurity and conflict were, however, more relevant drivers of displacement. Regarding our second research question, we find a potential for tensions between IDPs and host communities, as 85% of the interviewed host community members oppose the presence of the IDPs. Hence, measures are needed to improve relations between the two groups. In order to avoid a future scenario where water scarcity becomes a significant driver of migration, efficient management of water resources is paramount. Such action would not only address the issue of migration, but also strengthen the resilience of communities in northern Nigeria. Full article
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