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
    17 May 2022
  • Policies for Material Circularity: the Case of Lithium
    17 May 2022

    Abstract

    Improper waste management carries social risks and dissipates high-value materials. Moreover, material market prices do not reflect these hidden costs and values. Two important questions are how prices can inform society about their resource use impact and how market-based policies optimize material circularity. This study adds to the literature by analyzing the effect of market-based policies aimed at promoting circular material reuse in a market defied by harmful waste but enhanced by recycling. The findings indicate that a landfill tax is a first-best policy since it targets the external costs of waste disposal, improves welfare, reduces damages, and boosts recycling. If a landfill tax is not feasible, other programs like taxes, subsidies, and a tax-subsidy scheme provide second-best results. Remarkably, recycling subsidies can stimulate higher raw material extraction and generate rebound effects. We also explore other non-market-based strategies to prevent waste and make recycling more cost-competitive and easier to recycle. The numerical results and sensitivity analysis of the lithium market illustrate the model's flexibility and prove why some policies are superior to others for reducing waste and creating value from used materials. Our study results serve as a guide to designing policies for optimal material circularity.

  • Community-Scale Composting Initiatives in South-East Queensland and Beyond: a Review of Successes, Challenges and Lessons for a Pilot Project on Karragarra Island, southern Moreton Bay
    16 May 2022

    Abstract

    A systematic literature review was conducted on decentralised, community-scale composting and organics recycling initiatives in South-East Queensland, and other regions in Australia and globally. The results found were compared with the results of a pilot project on Karragarra Island, off the coast of southern Queensland. No relevant literature found in the review was from Australia and projects in south-east Queensland were investigated via personal communication. Overall, the results showed community-scale composting to be viable with the right partnerships, community awareness, project design and financial support. The pilot project implemented on Karragarra Island may be modified and replicated in South-East Queensland and beyond.

  • Circular Economy and Supply Chains: Definitions, Conceptualizations, and Research Agenda of the Circular Supply Chain Framework
    13 May 2022

    Abstract

    Objective

    Circular supply chain management (CSCM) incorporates circular thinking — based on the circular economy paradigm — into supply chain management. In the last 5 years, this emerging research field has developed at a rapid pace and, as a result, has attracted great interest from researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners. As there are few studies on the theoretical conceptualization of the circular supply chain (CSC), especially on its definition, this paper aims to fill this gap and to provide conceptual transparency for the CSC framework. The main research question is “What are the current understandings among scholars of the CSC concept and CSCM framework?”.

    Method

    To answer this question, a systematic literature review was conducted based on the Web of Science and Scopus databases. This was followed by a bibliometric analysis using VOSviewer and a comprehensive content analysis of the literature.

    Results

    The bibliometric analysis provided an overview of CSC evolution and identified three temporal, thematic clusters. The content analysis identified 127 articles that explicitly mention the term CSC(M). Of these, seventeen articles provide explicit definitions that were thoroughly analyzed and categorized. Following this, six archetypal elements of the CSC and four propositions on the CSC’s uniqueness were formulated.

    Conclusion

    The CSC research field is evolving rapidly. Its differentiation from other sustainability-related fields is sometimes not clear, and definitions and conceptualizations vary in detail, scope, and focus.

    Contributions

    This study contributes to the CSC literature and provides transparency for the conceptualization and understanding of CSC. For both theory and practice, an agenda for future research opportunities is identified, which supports the further development of this research field.

  • Agronomic and Environmental Determinants of Direct Seeded Rice in South Asia
    06 May 2022

    Abstract

    Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is the staple food of more than 50% of the world’s population. Manual puddled transplanted rice (PTR) system is still the predominant method of rice establishment. However, due to declining water tables, increasing water scarcity, water, labor- and energy-intensive nature of PTR, high labor wages, adverse effects of puddling on soil health and succeeding crops, and high methane emissions, this production system is becoming less profitable. These factors trigger the need for an alternative crop establishment method. The direct-seeded rice (DSR) technique is gaining popularity because of its low input demand compared to PTR. It is done by sowing pre-germinated seeds in puddled soil (wet-DSR), standing water (water seeding), or dry seeding on a prepared seedbed (dry-DSR). DSR requires less water and labor (12–35%), reduces methane emissions (10–90%), improves soil physical properties, involves less drudgery and production cost (US$9–125 per hectare), and gives comparable yields. Upgraded short-duration and high-yielding varieties and efficient nutrient, weed, and resource management techniques encouraged the farmers to switch to DSR culture. However, several constraints are associated with this shift: more weeds, the emergence of weedy rice, herbicide resistance, nitrous oxide emissions, nutrient disorders, primarily N and micro-nutrients, and an increase in soil-borne pathogens lodging etc. These issues can be overcome if proper weed, water, and fertilizer management strategies are adopted. Techniques like stale bed technique, mulching, crop rotation, Sesbania co-culture, seed priming, pre-emergence and post-emergence spray, and a systematic weed monitoring program will help reduce weeds. Chemical to biotechnological methods like herbicide-resistant rice varieties and more competitive allelopathic varieties will be required for sustainable rice production. In addition, strategies like nitrification inhibitors and deep urea placement can be used to reduce N2O emissions. Developing site and soil-specific integrated packages will help in the broader adoption of DSR and reduce the environmental footprint of PTR. The present paper aims to identify the gaps and develop the best-bet agronomic practices and develop an integrated package of technologies for DSR, keeping in mind the advantages and constraints associated with DSR, and suggest some prospects. Eco-friendly, cost-effective DSR package offers sustainable rice production systems with fewer resources and low emissions.

    Graphical abstract

  • Assessing the Potential of Water Reuse Uptake Through a Private–Public Partnership: a Practitioner’s Perspective
    05 May 2022

    Abstract

    Around 20% of the global water abstractions are originated by the industrial sector, while water demand overall will increase by 20–33% by 2050. Wastewater could provide an alternative source of water for industrial activities. There are not many studies exploring the potential of treated wastewater use under a private–public partnership (PPP), despite their potential of contributing to an effective integrated water management through the creation of inter-sectorial synergies. This paper aims therefore to provide a holistic overview of the main factors that affect the effectiveness of PPPs in using treated municipal wastewater in the industrial sector. Through a systematic literature review, the main barriers, drivers, industries and different applications of water use are analysed. Barriers and drivers are classified through the inductive Gioia method into seven categories. The results showed that economic and technical aspects related to the feasibility of the scheme were most prominent in the literature, while water availability seems to be central driving factor for such water reuse schemes. The conclusion of PPPs in water reuse, however, relies on the possibilities for such a partnership and on bridging the needs of the two parties, which entails effective communication through negotiation and information sharing. This paper is a first step to understanding how water circularity practices under an interconnected and sustainable urban environment can be facilitated and explored.

  • Circular Economy and the triple bottom line in Norway
    21 April 2022

    Abstract

    A more circular economy aims to reduce global material consumption, make the most out of our resources, and create a more sustainable economic system. In this paper, we analyze how different circular economy actions in Norway affect indicators in the three pillars of sustainable development: economic prosperity (measured by value added), social equity (measured by employment opportunities), and environmental protection (measured by greenhouse gas emissions). Based on priorities of the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan and characteristics of the Norwegian economy, we have selected five value chains for analysis: electronics; textiles; construction and building; packaging and plastics; and metal efficiency. The results show that there is a substantial potential for increased value added and employment in Norway related to the circular transition, while at the same time mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. For increased material efficiency (plastic packaging, metals), employment gains can be substantial, while imports of metals and plastics decrease, resulting in lower upstream emissions, but higher Norwegian emissions. For consumer goods (textiles, electronics), the positive effects come about from shifting from a buy-and-discard model to a buy-repair/share/use longer model, resulting in increased employment in Norway and decreased imports, which potentially leads to lower emissions, but also lower employment globally. For re-use/re-purpose and recycling of building materials, emission-intense material extraction and processing activities are replaced by more labour intense activities, but has the largest potential of decreasing emissions within Norway.

  • Wastewater Treatment Systems for City-Based Municipal Drains for Achieving Sustainability
    14 April 2022

    Abstract

    Currently, drains in several cities carry both rainwater and untreated greywater with black water from settlements nearby. In emerging economies, cities often become hubs of illegal and unauthorised colonies which thrive in the vicinity of stormwater drains. These create a unique pressure on the infrastructure and pose a challenge for civic bodies for ensuring adequate outflow quality as per environmental discharge norms. The flow characteristics (variable, seasonal, minimum or continuous flow) and structural constraints (the bed and site complexity) in the design of these drains restrict the options for implementing large wastewater treatment plants. In addition to the above, the techniques that rely heavily on structural, mechanical and energy inputs are economically not feasible and demand more maintenance, which acts as hindrances in these harsh environments. In these scenarios, human health is a critical factor, as frequent exposure to sewage without any protective equipment during maintenance could lead to health hazards and high-stress levels. The utilisation of decentralised and distributed wastewater treatment systems offers an in situ choice for achieving the desired result in quality and nutrient removal in the influent. These systems enable the water to be safely discharged to rivers or channelised for agriculture or industrial purposes. Furthermore, the solid fraction in the sewage is extracted as manure or composted after curing. The selection, design and implementation with maintenance are essential for improved efficiency and productivity of the system. Therefore, an investigation into such processes presently utilised, and a few other possibilities are discussed in this paper. This paper aims to establish various concepts and schemes that municipal corporations could adopt sustainably for efficient treatment within the limited spatial and temporal boundaries offered by city drains.

  • A Life Cycle Assessment on Single-Use and Reuse Beer Cups at Festivals
    13 April 2022

    Abstract

    This article aims at comparing the environmental performance of single-use and multiple use beer cups at festivals. A life cycle assessment is conducted for assessing the potential environmental impacts of 1000 servings of 0.5 l of beer at Norwegian festivals. Three single-use systems are considered: one with incineration, one with open loop recycling, and one with closed loop recycling. The two first single-use systems and the reuse system assume the use of PP cups, while the latter uses PET cups, as PET is the only plastic material which currently allows a closed loop recycling system. Existing literature has shown that the choice of system depends on several site-specific parameters such as the definition of the trip rate in a reuse system and on the festival participant’s behaviour. In this article, we calculate the trip rate in the reuse system based on the cup return rates, which varies between all systems. The return rate was calculated using empirical data for Norway’s largest festival. In addition, the recycling stage is modelled with both cut-off and system expansion for assessing the robustness of the results. To reduce environmental impacts related to the serving of beers, festivals are advised to get an overview of the flows of the cups after use, to measure and limit their waste, and to have good collection systems for handling the cups as intended. The results of this study show that this is more important than the choice of cup material. LCA practitioners should be cautious with the implications of the end-of-life modelling approach on the results.

  • Food Waste to Livestock Feed: Prospects and Challenges for Swine Farming in Peri-urban Sri Lanka
    12 April 2022

    Abstract

    Using farm animals for their natural capability of “recycling” food waste (FW) that is unfit for direct human consumption can support a circular economy as shown in the case of Sri Lanka’s Western Province. The reuse of organic residues including FW as animal feed is a traditional agricultural practice in Sri Lanka but is less studied within an urban FW context. A survey of piggeries using FW in and around the rapidly urbanizing city of Colombo showed that FW is a major feed source in the farms accounting for on average 82% of total feed. About 40% of the farms collected the FW mainly from hotels, restaurants, and institutional canteens. Urban FW is supplied to farmers free of charge when collected directly from the sources, although 26% of the farmers collected FW via intermediaries against a fee. As FW is collected daily, the restaurants appreciate the reliable service, the farmers the low-cost feed, and the municipality the reduced FW volumes to be collected. However, this triple-win situation encounters challenges such as (tourist related) seasonal low supply, which was exacerbated under the Covid-19 lockdown of food services. Another area of concern refers to biosafety. Although the large majority of interviewed farmers boil FW which contains raw meat or fish, there is a paucity of related guidelines and control. Given the benefits of FW use, it is worthwhile to explore how far these informal partnerships could be scaled without increasing transport costs for farmers, while introducing biosafety monitoring. For now, the regulatory environment is highly siloed and does not support material transitions across sector boundaries towards a circular economy.

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