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
    18 September 2021
  • Life Cycle Assessment of Solar Photovoltaic in India: A Circular Economy Approach
    18 September 2021


    This pioneering work employs the attributional and comparative life cycle assessment methodology to evaluate India’s ambitious target of installing 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 and the FRELP method to study the circular economy prospects of the substantial PV waste it is expected to generate. Business as usual projections suggest that the intended target will be achieved no sooner than 2029. The lower lifetime of polycrystalline PV modules combined with their lower efficiency is found to severely downgrade their environmental performance vis-à-vis monocrystalline PV modules. The end-of-life treatment of the projected 6,576 tonnes of solar PV waste, expected to be accumulated between 2034-59, indicates a recovery rate of 90.7% entailing electricity consumption, GHG emissions, and monetary cost of 678.6 MWh, 648 tonnes of CO2 eq., and USD 11.8 billion, respectively. Simultaneously, the recovery of aluminum and glass alone leads to a direct saving of 70.3 GWh of energy by eliminating raw material extraction and processing. Further, the economic value of the recovered material at USD 11.74 billion is found to have the potential to generate additional solar capacity worth 19 GW. However, making the end-of-life treatment of PV waste financially feasible would require government subsidization. A minimum amount that would equate the costs to the benefits is USD 690/MW. The study, therefore, intends to inform potential stakeholders about the environmental burden as well as the economic potential of the impending PV waste and concludes with important policy prescriptions for enabling a sustainable energy transition through the circular economy approach.

  • Peach Seeds Pyrolysis Integrated into a Zero Waste Biorefinery: an Experimental Study
    15 September 2021


    This study reports results of an experimental investigation of peach seeds for vegetable oils and biofuel production. Dry peach seeds have undergone hexane extraction for the recovery of oils/lipids and then pyrolyzed in a laboratory reactor. Pyrolysis parametric investigation was carried out to explore the effect of temperature, heating rate, and carrier gas flow on products’ yield. Energetic characterization of products was performed to assess them as biofuels, compared also with biofuels derived from other feedstocks. Results showed that pyrolysis temperature and heating rate played important role on yield and the composition of pyrolysis products. Extraction of oils/lipids reached 38.6 % wt., while pyrolysis gas, oil, and char yielded as 10–25, 37–50, and 10–20 % wt., respectively, at different pyrolysis conditions. Pyrolysis gas, bio-oil, and biochar HHVs estimated values were in the ranges of 10.5–28.5, 29–33, and 19.5–22.2 MJ/kg, respectively, all higher than that of lignite (19.3 MJ/kg). Sulfur content was not traceable in both solid and liquid products, while nitrogen content did not exceed 8.5% wt. The degree of linear association between pyrolysis parameters/variables and products’ yields and HHV was examined using the Pearson correlation coefficient. The results revealed that the cascade biorefinery approach applied for the valorization of peach seeds to produce oil/lipids and fuels, by sequential processing via hexane extraction and pyrolysis, can reach increased material and energy efficiencies varying from 73.5 to 93.7 % wt. and from 30.4 to 50 %, respectively. It can also increase the environmental and economic benefit of the agri-food sector while providing a green, closed loop, circular bioeconomy industrial practice.

  • A Boundary Tool for Multi-stakeholder Sustainable Business Model Innovation
    14 September 2021


    Sustainable business model innovation cannot reach its full sustainability potential if it neglects the importance of multi-stakeholder alignment. Several studies emphasize the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration to enable sustainable business model innovation, but few studies offer guidance to companies for engaging in such a collaborative process. Based on the concept of boundary work, this study presents a tested process tool that helps companies engage with multiple stakeholders to innovate sustainable business models. The tool was developed in three iterative phases, including testing and evaluation with 74 participants in six sustainable business model innovation cases. The final process tool consists of five steps to facilitate multi-stakeholder alignment for sustainable business model innovation: (1) defining a collective ambition, (2) mapping and negotiating the changing organizational boundaries, (3) exploring opportunities and tensions for aligning stakeholders, (4) defining first interventions and (5) developing a collaboration pitch. We found that the tool enables discussions and negotiations on sensitive topics, such as power reconfigurations and mutual responsibilities to help stakeholders align. For companies, the boundary tool enriches sustainable business model innovation by offering guidance in the process of redesigning their multi-stakeholder system, assessing their own organizational boundaries, exploring, negotiating and prioritizing strategic actions based on organizational boundary changes and kick-starting new partnerships.

  • A Study of Innovative Alkali-Activated Binders for Soil Stabilisation in the Context of Engineering Sustainability and Circular Economy
    09 September 2021


    In the context of sustainability in the civil engineering industry, chemical ground improvement is becoming increasingly used, as a generally more sustainable alternative to replacing and landfilling unsuitable for construction ground. However, traditional soil stabilisers such as Portland cement or lime are not environmentally impact-free; international research effort is thus focusing on the development of innovative cementing agents. This paper presents results from a feasibility study on the development of suitable alkali-activated slag cements for the stabilisation of two soils. A number of alkali-activators were considered, comprising potassium hydroxide, a range of alkali salts, as well as a material retrieved from waste (Paper Sludge Ash, PSA) which contains free lime. Indicative results of an extensive parametric study in terms of unconfined compressive strength (UCS) are shown, followed by results of ongoing oedometer tests to determine soil compressibility and some preliminary tests on selected soil/binder mixes to observe the durability to wetting-drying cycles. Overall, all alkali-activated cement mixes increased the UCS and stiffness of the soil. Carbonates and Na2SiO3 used on their own gave lower strength increases. The highest strengths were achieved from AAC with KOH and Ca(OH)2 from PSA, which showed similar strength gain. The latter material has shown consistently a lot of promise in terms of strength, stiffness and volumetric stability of the soil as well as treatment durability. Ongoing research focuses on further mix optimisation and a comprehensive mechanical and durability property testing supported by material analysis (mineralogical, chemical and microstructural) to gain a better understanding of the complex mechanisms involved.

  • Rented But MINE! Application of Psychological Ownership Theory to Access-Based Consumption and the Circular Economy
    07 September 2021


    Most Circular Economy (CE) research to date has focused on supply-side factors such as the design, implementation, and monitoring of Circular business models, with comparatively little attention given to the role consumers and consumer psychology are likely to play in CE transition. A key driver of the CE framework is widespread public engagement in non-ownership or “access-based” consumption. In the absence of legally established property rights, the extent to which consumers experience a subjective sense of ownership over accessed (i.e., rented or shared) goods and services will be important in both understanding and fostering CE development. This paper introduces the construct and theory of psychological ownership (PO), discussing empirical evidence for its role in access-based consumption, primarily consumers’ use of product-service systems (PSSs). Overall, there is reasonable evidence that PSS users can and do develop a sense of psychological ownership for rented items with, by implication, accessed goods and services activating at least one behavioural pathway or “route” to its development. Once attained, PO tends to have a positive—often mediating—impact on users’ perceptions, attitudes, intentions, and behaviour towards rented product-services, with stronger PO having greater influence. A conceptual application of Psychological Ownership Theory to access-based consumption—hence the Circular Economic framework—is forwarded, with potential frustrations to PO development, plus implications for marketers and CE strategists, also discussed. With relevant literature, still sparse various directions for future research are also suggested.

  • Learning Economy: a New Hope to Achieve a Sustainable Economic System
    07 September 2021


    Advances in science and technology have improved industrial productivity and competitiveness and greatly improved standards and quality of life. These same factors have been the source of the current instability and have created new issues requiring complex expertise and technology. This paper is based on the content analysis paradigm and the system analysis method. Given the limitations of the classic and neoclassical economic model, new approaches to environmental economics and innovation have been analyzed, and the challenges of achieving sustainable development and its components have been addressed. The future of humanity depends on whether it can develop an economic and social system with the “operational capacity” of mass and energy that respects ecological constraints, and this is the ultimate challenge for the economic systems in the future. However, as a realistic view, nobody can deny the importance of the other economic theories, and it is suggested to use the historical experiences and information to improve the economic systems, not to abandon what human society has achieved. Based on the obtained analytical results, the framework for selecting policy tools, the characteristics of each, and the time of using these policy tools to promote sustainable development are presented. This study shows that despite rapid economic growth, the world is reaching a point that there will be no capacity for more net harvest from nature. This paper suggests sustainable economics to stabilize sustainable economic growth and save vital resources from being depleted.

  • Modeling of Bauxite Ore Wet Milling for the Improvement of Process and Energy Efficiency
    05 September 2021


    Size reduction is a necessary operation in mineral processing plants and provides the desired size for separation operations and the liberation of the valuable minerals present in ores. Estimations on energy consumption indicate that milling consumes more than 50 % of the total energy used in mining operations. Despite the fact that ball milling is an efficient operation, it is energy intensive, and its modeling is a great challenge. In the present experimental study, efforts are made to model wet milling of bauxite ores and identify the optimum material filling volume in the ball mill. Modeling is based on the characterization of the grinding products obtained after various grinding periods and the description of the particle size distributions using mathematical approaches, i.e., Gates–Gaudin–Schuhmann (GGS), Rosin–Rammler (RR), and logistic distributions. In addition, grinding kinetic models were applied to the experimental data in order to identify if the linear theory of the population balance model is valid during bauxite grinding. The experimental data revealed that the logistic distribution is a model that represents more reliably particle size distributions obtained after grinding and fits the experimental data better than the GGS and RR models. Regarding grinding kinetic analysis, it was found that grinding exhibits non-first-order behavior and the reduction rate of each size is time dependent. This experimental work is in line with the Sustainable Development Goal of UN, SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production and aims to improve the efficiency of ore grinding and thus reduce energy requirements and the associated CO2 emissions.

  • Digital Technology and Social Innovation Promoting a Green Citizenship: Development of the “Go Sustainable Living” Digital Application
    03 September 2021


    This study aims at embedding sustainability in the consumption behavior and daily decisions of individuals with the support of a digital technology application integrated with social innovation marketed models. It takes advantage of the widespread use of smartphones that creates new opportunities in the field of citizen science and new possibilities for data collection to boost consumers’ consciousness toward creating active civilians and “green citizenship.” The study’s output is a digital application on the mobile phone, called “Go Sustainable Living,” where consumers can upload their daily sustainable and green actions to collect credits to be further exchanged with purchasing discounts in local stores and cultural organizations participating in the projects. By rewarding green users, the projects partnering organizations benefit from building their green character. This study is based on the questionnaire findings: “From Theory to Praxis: ‘Go Sustainable Livingsurvey for exploring individuals consciousness level of decision-making and action-taking in daily life toward a Green Citizenship,” an analysis published in 2021 by the authors [1].

    Graphical abstract

  • A Unique Perspective of Materials, Practices and Structures Within the Food, Energy and Water Nexus of Australian Urban Alternative Food Networks
    31 August 2021


    Established and emerging alternative food networks (AFNs) are providing developments to circular economy within the Australian urban food system. In identifying and evaluating areas of AFNs providing positive externalities contributing to circularity, this systematic review provided an engineering and management science perspective on AFNs. Key foci were urban agriculture, emergent technologies, community gardens and prosumer practices and how their use of food, energy and water affect sustainability, ecosystem services and cleaner production in the transition towards a circular economy. Analysis of how flows through the food-energy-water nexus were utilised from food production, consumption and distribution processes was one aspect of this review. Alternative food networks are not always inherently benign; however, efficient and informed use of technologies and best practices have the potential for significant reductions in the current environmental impact of urban agriculture, community gardens, farmers’ markets and supply chain advocates. AFNs within the urban food system promote environmental benefits through innovative and diverse incorporation of resources, energy, technologies, practices and structural dependencies. This study reviewed the state-of-the-art of features of AFNs that create value both for the prosumer and for the environment. Concepts identified within this review can pioneer the transition of the food network from the current high-impact state into a low-impact future in a predominantly productivist system. In creating value in AFNs by lowering associated economic, energy, area and resource costs, and making AFN systems more resilient, self-sufficient and localised, a circular economy can be grown, even from one’s very own backyard.

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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