Journal Circular Economy And Sustainability

The Circular Economy and Sustainability journal aims to bring a new approach of the key concepts of circular economy and sustainability, by combining the scientific disciplines of economy, management, engineering, technology, environment, and society.

As circular economy is necessary today to promote the goals of sustainable development, these scientific areas are not independent to each other, but their relations, interactions and synergies exist and should be further developed and studied. Interdisciplinary approaches and multiple connections between these scientific areas are required not only to reach the sustainability goals but also to solve diverse environmental problems, expand technological limits and overcome potential economic disturbances.

This approach is expressed with new policies (command and control, market-based instruments, and circular public procurement), technological suggestions (e.g. technical cycle solutions), environmental engineering technologies (e.g., waste management, 3r strategies, water recycle, wastewater treatment and reuse, renewable energy), circular business models, circular innovations, circular management solutions, consumers’ behavior in circular economy, new circular economy products labels and social acceptance in circular economy. These topics could be classified in three levels; the micro-level (firm-level engineering and managerial level), meso-level (industrial ecology, industrial symbiosis, eco-clusters, eco-industrial parks), and macro-level (general policies, plans, green and sustainable entrepreneurship).

All content in the journal will in 2020 and 2021 be freely accessible to everyone

Latest Results

The latest content available from Springer
  • Circular Economy and Sustainability
    11 May 2021
  • Correction to: Circular Economy and Solid Waste Management: Challenges and Opportunities in Brazil
    11 May 2021

    A Correction to this paper has been published:

  • Bioplastics from Winemaking By-products in the Buildings Sector: A Feasibility Study on the Main Opportunities, Barriers and Challenges
    07 May 2021


    Plastics from fossil source are third after steel and cement among the most widespread materials used in the buildings sector. Bioplastics are biopolymers that offer a sustainable alternative due to their biodegradability and compostability. The edible first-generation sugary-based feedstocks, having high costs that drive the market price even in presence of a large-scale production of bioplastics, should be partly replaced by 2030 with non-edible second-generation feedstocks based on recyclable organic solid agro-wastes according to “Green Deal” of the European Union. The winemaking wastes used as feedstock for the synthesis of biopolymer building blocks and reinforcing fillers could represent a suitable option to reduce biopolymer costs and increase their competitiveness in plastic market. Although bioplastic can solve more environmental issues, nonetheless the production cycle does not always respect the principles of sustainability overall during biopolymer recovery. The present feasibility study is aimed at taking the state of the art of bioplastics in the buildings industry for promoting winemaking co-products into a circular system. The literature data have been collected, consulted and empirically elaborated to find real and potential opportunities, barriers and challenges of developing wine wastes (e.g. wine shoots, grape pomace and wine lees) in the strategic market segment of bioclimatic architecture.

  • A Qualitative-Based Study on Barriers to Change from Linear Business Model to Circular Economy Model in Built Environment—Evidence from Bangladesh
    05 May 2021


    This study intended to develop a vigorous method to recognize the core barriers to shift from linear to a circular economy in built environment. The circular economy model has arisen as an environmentally responsible substitute to the current linear model. Most of the body of knowledge has comprehensively wider emphasis on circular economy, but a more custom-made understanding and approach are necessary in different sectors, e.g., building environment to materialize the concept of circular economy. Thus, this study concentrates on the built environment in Bangladesh (a developing country), where its constituting elements are characterized by several stakeholders, extensive lifespans, and plenty of apparatuses and supplementary materials that interact dynamically. The design of this research is a qualitative research based. Based on desk explorations, a fundamental understanding regarding circular economy barriers in built environment has been developed. A non-random sample of respondents nominated by the researchers was taken. Semi-structured interviews with circular economy experts have been conducted. To accelerate the transformation towards circularity, the researchers have tried to pinpoint the barriers of circular economy within the built environment. This will constitute the foundation of future work for the development of the circular economy.

  • An Assessment of Smallholder Farmer’s Status in the Capricorn District in Limpopo Province, South Africa
    03 May 2021


    This paper points the state of smallholder farmers in terms of the socio-economic, support and yielding statuses in the Capricorn District, Limpopo Province, South Africa. The aim of the paper is to evaluate the status of smallholder farmer in terms of agricultural production. The study used a representative sample consisting of 50 smallholder farmers, with 546 beneficiaries participating in the research. Four local municipalities were visited, namely, Polokwane, Molemole, Lepelle–Nkumpi and Blouberg. Quantitative and qualitative plan was used as a detailed questionnaire written in English. Focus group discussion, a stakeholder’s discussion and field observations were used. A purposive sampling technique was used to select fifty smallholder farmers, and data was coded, captured and analysed with a software Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 20). Descriptive and correlations analysis results showed a significant association among the following variables: crops planted, size of land, source of water, type of market and land acquisition. The results also indicated that natural resources like land and water are the prerequisite for a smallholder farmer to engage in agricultural production. This will enable smallholder farmers to plant different crops and to identify market opportunities. It is recommended that organisations that oversee the improvement of socio-economic conditions, policy, food security and rural development should use the results of this study as a guide for their planning and decision-making for improved smallholder farmers’ livelihoods.

  • Manufacturing Zero-Waste COVID-19 Personal Protection Equipment: a Case Study of Utilizing 3D Printing While Employing Waste Material Recycling
    30 April 2021


    COVID-19 pandemic outbreak dictated the extensive use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by the majority of the population and mostly by frontline professionals. This need triggered a sudden demand that led to a global shortage of available PPEs threatening to have an immense contribution to the virus contamination spread. In these conditions, the need for a local, flexible, and rapid manufacturing method that would be able to cope with the increased demand for PPE fabrication arose. 3D printing proved to be such a manufacturing technique since its working principles make it an ideal technology for local, decentralized production of PPEs meeting the local demands. While considered to be more environmentally friendly than conventional fabrication techniques and aligning well with the principles of sustainability and circular economy, 3D printing can produce waste as the result of potential failed prints and material used for the fabrication of support structures. This paper describes the case of utilizing pre-existing FDM 3D printing equipment in an academic facility for the production of PPEs (face shields) and their distribution according to local demands. The plastic wastes produced were forwarded to a recycling process that led to their conversion to 3D filament that would be returned to the academic facility as raw material for future 3D printing operations. The followed procedure minimized 3D printing waste and led to a zero-waste fabrication case that was initiated in a pandemic for a greater-good cause (production of COVID-19 fighting PPEs) while assimilating the values of sustainability and circular economy.

    Graphical abstract

  • Co-creating a Vision and Roadmap for Circular Economy in the Food and Beverages Packaging Sector
    29 April 2021


    This paper describes a collaborative process engaging key stakeholders to co-create a shared vision for 2035 and a roadmap for action to support a circular economy transition in the packaging of the food and beverages sector in Portugal. Although the need to engage stakeholders is widely acknowledged, few collaborative initiatives can be found in the literature for scoping and visioning of circular economy strategies. Three main stages are broadly proposed to conduct a participatory scoping and visioning process, including the conduction of exploratory interviews and a collaborative visioning workshop supported by desk-based research. Engaging agents from across the value chain and from critical knowledge fields allowed to create a common understanding of major challenges, opportunities, and key circular strategies to implement towards a desired vision of the future. Five main areas of action were identified: innovation and research, new business models; eco-design; marketing and communication; and regulation and incentives. This work allowed to draw useful lessons for the sector: (i) there is a great potential of circularity in the food and beverages packaging sector; (ii) the engaged stakeholders have the will to continue collaborating. Regarding the proposed process: (i) a process of this nature allows the co-creation of a shared vision and the definition of a roadmap to achieve it and (ii) engaging stakeholders from all the value chain in structured discussions and collaborative exercises may contribute to promote social learning and knowledge co-creation. Some limitations can be pointed out; an important one is the dependency on stakeholders’ engagement, which could bring additional challenges when implementing a process of this nature. Although the process can be applied in different contexts and sectors, the obtained results are specific for this sector in the Portuguese context.

  • Advancing the Circular Economy in Public Sector Organisations: Employees’ Perspectives on Practices
    28 April 2021


    Circular economy (CE) is a concept that is gaining attention as an approach to help accelerate the transition towards sustainability. Research has focused on the adoption of CE practices in the business sector while the adoption within public sector organisations has been relatively overlooked. Examining CE adoption in the public sector through the perceptive of employees is crucial because of their expertise in the organisation where they work. The main aim of this study is to identify what public employees perceive as suitable CE practices for their organisations and their critical role in implementation. As the adoption of CE practices is influenced by social and material configurations, this research has taken a case study approach, focused on the Portuguese Central Public Administration. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with public employees working on CE and sustainability issues, and a complementary analysis was undertaken of governmental reports and legislative documents. The results show that public employees view the existence and potential of CE practices mainly in the area of public procurement but also in resource efficiency and optimisation, dematerialisation and in practices related to the R-hierarchy including reduce and reuse. Both technical-oriented practices aimed to achieve traditional resource efficiency, and human-centred practices targeted at reducing consumption and sharing resources have been identified. This research provides insights into how a specific group of stakeholders envisions CE activities for their sector. Identification of practices for central public sector has the potential to assist decision-makers in the process of defining priorities for CE planning, implementation and monitoring. This study focusing on CE practices in central public sector organisations contributes to the calls for an inclusion of human/socially-based practices centred around consumption reduction, sharing and dematerialisation activities to enhance the transformative and innovative potential of CE.

  • Business Model Experimentation for the Circular Economy: Definition and Approaches
    26 April 2021


    Business model experimentation has been identified as a key driver for business competitiveness but is underexplored in the sustainability and circular economy spheres. What is business model experimentation for the circular economy? This study follows a two-step approach: a literature analysis followed by a qualitative practitioner study. Based on these, circular business model experimentation is defined as an iterative approach to develop and test circular value propositions in a real-life context with customers and stakeholders, starting with a shared goal. It involves rapid learning based on empirical data to provide evidence on the viability of circular value propositions. Iterations involve increased complexity of experiments. There is a learning focus on initiating wider transitions, such as transforming consumer behaviours for the circular economy. We visualise the emerging research landscape, including research streams from business, transitions, engineering, and design. Practically, we illuminate how practitioners view the concept and current experimentation tools and approaches.

  • Megatrends in Circular Economy: Avenues for Relevant Advancements in Organizations
    16 April 2021


    The aim of this study is to systematize the main findings of 38 previous systematic literature reviews (SLRs) in circular economy. From this previous mapping, we outline main themes and limitations in the SLRs analysed, then we synthesize the findings of previous SLR to identify mega-trends in CE reserach. Finally, we propose avenues for future circular economy research. Our analysis indicates three main types of limitations of SLR in CE: The first are shortcomings in the SLR methods, the second is the low maturity of CE research and the third the limited dissemination of CE practices. These limitations coalesce to constrain the empirical and theoretical relevance of knowledge accumulated. A main contribution of our meta-analysis is to identify a paucity of accumulated knowledge in critical areas needed for theory building, such as conceptual clarity, limited identification of antecedents, mediators and moderators and opaque understanding of boundary conditions. We conclude that more rigorous empirical research is needed to further build knowledge and generate CE-specific theory. Finally, 7 main areas for further research are proposed, indicating potential theoretical lenses when appropriate.

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Key objectives:

  • continue to refine the contemporary scientific theory and evidence base of circular economy in tandem with the research-education-business nexus;
  • provide a network to connect and convene higher education globally to stimulate new research and educational initiatives;
  • share significant findings through high quality research publications, conferences and mainstream media
  • promote educational offerings to business, government, academics and other stakeholders