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Sustainability, Volume 16, Issue 9 (May-1 2024) – 375 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): PVC is the mass plastic to which the most diverse and quantitatively largest number of additives are added. This makes PVC difficult to recycle. In the 1980s, the PVC industry announced its commitment to improve the sustainability of the material through material recycling. But after three decades, the recycling result is rather meagre. The majority of PVC waste in Europe is still going to waste-to-energy plants. The many attempts to end the chlorine cycle via waste incineration and to expand chemical recycling in parallel have not been successful. The main reasons are the quantity and variety of additives, legacy chemicals (legacy additives), and economic interests. View this paper
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14 pages, 1263 KiB  
Article
Energy Gain and Carbon Footprint in the Production of Bioelectricity and Wood Pellets in Croatia
by Zdravko Pandur, Marin Bačić, Marijan Šušnjar, Matija Landekić, Mario Šporčić and Iva Ištok
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3881; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093881 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 604
Abstract
The paper presents the process of electricity and thermal energy production in a cogeneration plant and the process of wood pellet production. The aim of this study was to analyze the energy gain—EROI for energy products that are created as a product contained [...] Read more.
The paper presents the process of electricity and thermal energy production in a cogeneration plant and the process of wood pellet production. The aim of this study was to analyze the energy gain—EROI for energy products that are created as a product contained in electrical and thermal energy and the energy contained in wood pellets. According to the obtained results, the production of only electrical energy from wood biomass in a cogeneration plant was not sustainable from an energy point of view, since the obtained electrical energy was only 1.46 times greater than the input wood energy (EROIel = 1.46), while the obtained energy of the produced wood pellets was 4.82 (EROIpel = 4.82). According to the results of equivalent carbon emission, positive net value was achieved only with cogeneration plant and pellet plant working in synergy. Wood is a renewable source of energy, and its economic use can create a significant energy gain. However, due to the trend of using renewable energy sources and the increasing need for electricity, such a process of obtaining electricity is financially profitable, although it is not justified from the energy profitability and environmental sustainability point of view. Full article
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18 pages, 2158 KiB  
Article
How Credible Is the 25-Year Photovoltaic (PV) Performance Warranty?—A Techno-Financial Evaluation and Implications for the Sustainable Development of the PV Industry
by Pao-Hsiang Hsi and Joseph C. P. Shieh
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3880; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093880 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 620
Abstract
To support the bankability of PV projects, PV manufacturers have been offering one of the longest warranties in the world, typically in the range of 25–30 years. During the warranty period, PV manufacturers guarantee that the degradation of PV modules will not exceed [...] Read more.
To support the bankability of PV projects, PV manufacturers have been offering one of the longest warranties in the world, typically in the range of 25–30 years. During the warranty period, PV manufacturers guarantee that the degradation of PV modules will not exceed 0.4–0.6% each year, or the buyer can at any time make a claim to the manufacturer for replacement or compensation for the shortfall. Due to its popularity, the performance warranty terms have become more and more competitive each year. However, long-term PV operating data have been very limited and bankruptcy of PV manufacturers has been quite common. Without a proper methodology to assess the adequacy of PV manufacturer’s warranty fund (WF) reserve, the 25-year performance warranty can become empty promises. To ensure sustainable development of the PV industry, this study develops a probability-weighted expected value method to determine the necessary WF reserve based on benchmark field degradation data and prevailing degradation cap of 0.55% per year. The simulation result shows that, unless the manufacturer’s degradation pattern is significantly better than the benchmark degradation profile, 1.302% of the sales value is required for the WF reserve. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that provides WF reserve requirement estimation for 25-year PV performance warranty. The result will provide transparency for PV investors and motivation for PV manufacturers for continuous quality improvement as all such achievement can now be reflected in manufacturers’ annual report result. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Utilization and Sustainable Development)
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20 pages, 703 KiB  
Article
Are Consumers Equally Willing to Pay More for Brands That Aim for Sustainability, Positive Societal Contribution, and Inclusivity as for Brands That Are Perceived as Exclusive? Generational, Gender, and Country Differences
by Frank Goedertier, Bert Weijters and Joeri Van den Bergh
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3879; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093879 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 691
Abstract
This study explores consumer preferences for brands that emphasize sustainability and inclusivity, and for brands perceived as exclusive and trendy. Consumer data obtained via a large-scale survey involving 24,798 participants across 20 countries and one special administrative region (SAR) are used to understand [...] Read more.
This study explores consumer preferences for brands that emphasize sustainability and inclusivity, and for brands perceived as exclusive and trendy. Consumer data obtained via a large-scale survey involving 24,798 participants across 20 countries and one special administrative region (SAR) are used to understand how willingness to pay (WTP) for these brand types varies globally, accounting for demographic factors like generation, gender, and country. A substantial body of literature highlights growing consumer interest in brands that stand for sustainability and inclusivity, challenging traditional notions that luxury and exclusivity primarily drive brand value. Despite persistent skepticism among some business executives about consumers’ actual versus claimed willingness to spend more for sustainable and inclusive brands, academics and commercial researchers increasingly signal a shift in purchasing behavior that is influenced by socio-ecological factors. This research aims to provide empirical data on consumer WTP across different demographics and countries/regions, thereby contributing to academic discussions and offering insights for managerial decision making. The study frames its investigation around four research questions, to explore how consumers’ WTP for exclusive and inclusive brands varies across generations, genders, and countries/regions. It employs a robust methodological approach, using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the data. This ensures that the constructs of brand inclusiveness and exclusivity are comparable across diverse cultural contexts. Significant gender, generational, and country/region differences are observed. When comparing generations, the findings indicate that GenZ consumers have a higher WTP for sustainable/inclusive brands (compared to older, GenX, and Baby Boomer generations). Similar patterns are found when considering WTP for exclusive, on-trend brands. In terms of gender, women are observed to have a higher WTP for sustainable/inclusive brands, but a lower WTP for exclusive, on-trend brands compared to men. Finally, compared to consumers originating from certain European countries, we find that consumers living in certain Asian countries/regions have a significantly higher WTP for inclusive and sustainable brands, as well as for exclusive/on-trend brands. The study underscores the complexities of consumer behavior in the global market, highlighting the coexistence of traditional preferences for exclusive, trendy brands and preferences for brands that embrace sustainability and inclusivity. Full article
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20 pages, 1499 KiB  
Article
Developing a Measurement Framework for Ethiopian Dry Port Sustainability: An Empirical Study
by Zellalem Tadesse Beyene, Simon Peter Nadeem and Matiwos Ensermu Jaleta
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3878; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093878 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 617
Abstract
In the context of a dry port, sustainable operations involve developing and implementing policies and procedures that reduce adverse effects on the environment, advance economic viability, and strengthen social responsibility. Several factors contribute to achieving environmental, economic, and social sustainability, making it critical [...] Read more.
In the context of a dry port, sustainable operations involve developing and implementing policies and procedures that reduce adverse effects on the environment, advance economic viability, and strengthen social responsibility. Several factors contribute to achieving environmental, economic, and social sustainability, making it critical to identify the factors influencing the sustainability of dry port operations. This research aims to identify decisive factors associated with economic, social, and environmental sustainability, and to develop a framework for measuring sustainability in dry port operations. The research utilises exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and the analytical hierarchical process (AHP) to develop a measurement framework for assessing the sustainability of Ethiopian dry ports. EFA is an effective method with which to identify factors that contribute to sustainable dry port operations. To provide a frame for the critical sustainability performance metrics for dry ports, the AHP approach was used. Data were collected from 300 stakeholders using surveys to identify key factors, and 20 senior experts were involved in validating and rating the most influential factors determining dry port sustainability. This research asserts the most pertinent factors guiding dry port sustainability operations, resource allocation, and decision-making. From an environmental sustainability perspective, critical factors include minimising business-partner impacts, reducing waste, addressing climate change, providing environmental planning education to teams, and implementing measures to protect the national environment. From a social perspective, the factors identified include a resettlement policy, employment opportunities for the community, workplace safety, stakeholder consultation, and top-management guidance. From an economic standpoint, critical factors include value-added services, reduced transportation costs, decreased time, enhanced productivity in the trade supply chain, and profit orientation. The research provides valuable insights with which to guide the development of practices and policies aimed at ensuring sustainable dry port operations, a critical domain of the trade supply chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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22 pages, 4562 KiB  
Article
Quantitative Evaluation of Sustainable Marketing Effectiveness: A Polish Case Study
by Pawel Tadeusz Kazibudzki and Tomasz Witold Trojanowski
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3877; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093877 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 600
Abstract
This research investigates the sustainable marketing effectiveness of Poland’s fruit and vegetable industry using a seminal approach to analyze the interconnected dynamics among all factors and highlight pivotal elements through a structural model. Methodologically, the research used a sample of 216 companies utilizing [...] Read more.
This research investigates the sustainable marketing effectiveness of Poland’s fruit and vegetable industry using a seminal approach to analyze the interconnected dynamics among all factors and highlight pivotal elements through a structural model. Methodologically, the research used a sample of 216 companies utilizing a comprehensive survey to gauge various dimensions of sustainable marketing, including the environmental and social aspects of production, pricing, distribution and promotional activities. The findings reveal a nuanced landscape of sustainability practices within the industry. While there is a commendable level of awareness and some positive strides in certain areas such as employee-focused social aspects, other domains lag significantly, particularly consumer-focused social aspects and sustainable promotional activities. The study highlights the need for a more concerted and integrated approach towards sustainability, emphasizing the necessity of balancing economic goals with environmental stewardship and social responsibility. These insights bear significant implications for both research and practice. Practically, the study offers industry stakeholders a detailed understanding of the current state of sustainable practices pinpointing areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. It underlines the originality and value of employing a sophisticated analytical approach in assessing and enhancing the sustainability of marketing practices in the industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management and Consumer Behavior Studies)
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28 pages, 6607 KiB  
Article
The InnoRec Process: A Comparative Study of Three Mainstream Routes for Spent Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Based on the Same Feedstock
by Hao Qiu, Daniel Goldmann, Christin Stallmeister, Bernd Friedrich, Maximilian Tobaben, Arno Kwade, Christoph Peschel, Martin Winter, Sascha Nowak, Tony Lyon and Urs A. Peuker
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3876; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093876 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 886
Abstract
Among the technologies used for spent lithium-ion battery recycling, the common approaches include mechanical treatment, pyrometallurgical processing and hydrometallurgical processing. These technologies do not stand alone in a complete recycling process but are combined. The constant changes in battery materials and battery design [...] Read more.
Among the technologies used for spent lithium-ion battery recycling, the common approaches include mechanical treatment, pyrometallurgical processing and hydrometallurgical processing. These technologies do not stand alone in a complete recycling process but are combined. The constant changes in battery materials and battery design make it a challenge for the existing recycling processes, and the need to design efficient and robust recycling processes for current and future battery materials has become a critical issue today. Therefore, this paper simplifies the current treatment technologies into three recycling routes, namely, the hot pyrometallurgical route, warm mechanical route and cold mechanical route. By using the same feedstock, the three routes are compared based on the recovery rate of the six elements (Al, Cu, C, Li, Co and Ni). The three different recycling routes represent specific application scenarios, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. In the hot pyrometallurgical route, the recovery of Co is over 98%, and the recovery of Ni is over 99%. In the warm mechanical route, the recovery of Li can reach 63%, and the recovery of graphite is 75%. In the cold mechanical route, the recovery of Cu can reach 75%, and the recovery of Al is 87%. As the chemical compositions of battery materials and various doping elements continue to change today, these three recycling routes could be combined in some way to improve the overall recycling efficiency of batteries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Optimization of Sustainable Metal Recovery Processes)
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20 pages, 3338 KiB  
Article
Water Banking as a Strategy for the Management and Conservation of a Critical Resource: A Case Study from Tunisia’s Medjerda River Basin (MRB)
by Aymen Sawassi, Roula Khadra and Brian Crookston
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3875; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093875 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 521
Abstract
The increasingly adverse impacts of climate change (e.g., rainfall patterns, droughts, and floods), coupled with the ever-increasing water demands, are often translated into a contingent liability for water users’ communities. Additional complexities arise due to competing priorities, water rights, and transboundary water sources. [...] Read more.
The increasingly adverse impacts of climate change (e.g., rainfall patterns, droughts, and floods), coupled with the ever-increasing water demands, are often translated into a contingent liability for water users’ communities. Additional complexities arise due to competing priorities, water rights, and transboundary water sources. Therefore, conventional water management practices should shift toward more comprehensive and responsive integrative approaches, even for systems with limited data. Furthermore, water managers must prioritize dynamic and interactive management techniques for existing systems. One such management technique is water banking, which is the focus of this study. Herein, a dynamic interactive water allocation model, which encompasses the water managers and heterogeneous parties with competing demands, is developed. The voluntary sales of water shares between parties are illustrated through the specific case of the Medjerda River in Tunisia, an excellent example of a transboundary basin with limited hydrologic data and conflicting water use requirements between its upstream and downstream sectors. A set of scenarios is developed for the first analysis with this model: two management scenarios that include the no-water trade and the water banking option; three demand scenarios that include a combination of steady-, low-, and high-water demand conditions; and two hydrologic scenarios that include dry and wet conditions. Based on an economic model, the economic impacts of water banking are calculated using estimates of the costs of water shortages brought to users that illustrate the magnitude. The results show that the water banking technique can improve water resource availability by optimizing the management, operation, and conservation of natural and artificial water storage systems and water distribution infrastructure. Specifically, water banking can offset users’ profit losses during severe conditions (i.e., drought), even with limited hydrologic data. This water management technique would allow the Tunisian government to minimize the economic impacts on farmers from drought and to plan for future uncertainties by optimizing the water storage potential in years of abundant rainfall. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Water Management)
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18 pages, 4448 KiB  
Article
Impact of New Energy Vehicle Charging Point Subsidy Policy on Subway Demand: Evidence from Beijing’s Real Estate Market
by Yilin Bi, Jiangwei Liu, Zhuang Liu and Suhao Wei
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3874; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093874 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 506
Abstract
New energy vehicles (NEVs) offer a sustainable private transportation alternative. Charging points are the source of power for NEVs; thus, their construction can significantly lower the costs associated with their use, thereby encouraging their adoption. This could potentially impact the subway demand, which [...] Read more.
New energy vehicles (NEVs) offer a sustainable private transportation alternative. Charging points are the source of power for NEVs; thus, their construction can significantly lower the costs associated with their use, thereby encouraging their adoption. This could potentially impact the subway demand, which is reflected by the relationship between housing prices and subway proximity in this paper, leading to a decrease in the premium for properties near subway stations. Utilizing a comprehensive data set of 599,916 housing transactions in Beijing and a difference-in-differences approach based on the hedonic price model, we found that China’s NEV charging point subsidy policy significantly decreases the subway premium of housing prices and mitigates housing price disparities. Furthermore, we explored the spatial heterogeneity of this impact, finding that the policy has less influence on residents living near the city center. Our findings indicate that the policy has resulted in a considerable decrease in the subway premium, ranging from ¥19,217 to ¥55,936 ($2745 to $7991) per transaction, which is equivalent to the annual income for an average individual at the time of the policy. The results address the far-reaching implications and significant role of NEV development in urban transportation. Full article
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23 pages, 9608 KiB  
Article
Characterizing Land Surface Temperature (LST) through Remote Sensing Data for Small-Scale Urban Development Projects in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
by Maram Ahmed, Mohammed A. Aloshan, Wisam Mohammed, Essam Mesbah, Naser A. Alsaleh and Islam Elghonaimy
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3873; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093873 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 738
Abstract
In the context of global climate change, there is a projected increase in land surface temperature (LST) worldwide, amplifying its impacts. This poses a particular concern for countries with hot climates, including the Kingdom of Bahrain as an example for the Gulf Cooperation [...] Read more.
In the context of global climate change, there is a projected increase in land surface temperature (LST) worldwide, amplifying its impacts. This poses a particular concern for countries with hot climates, including the Kingdom of Bahrain as an example for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC), which are countries with a hot climate. With a surge in population growth, there is a heightened demand for land to accommodate additional residential developments, creating an opportunity to investigate the influence of land use changes on LST variations. To achieve this goal, a residential development project spanning from 2013 to 2023 was undertaken. Landsat 8 OLI/TIRS remote sensing datasets were selected for four climate seasons, each set comprising images before and after development. The analysis involved extracting the LST, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and Normalized Difference Built-Up Index (NDBI) on various dates, followed by correlation and regression analyses to explore their interrelationships. The results revealed a significant increase in the mean LST during spring and autumn post-development. A consistent positive association between the LST and NDBI was observed across all seasons, strengthening after development completion. Conversely, there was a pre-development negative correlation between the LST and NDVI, shifting to a positive relationship post-development. These findings empirically support the idea that small-scale residential developments contribute to notable LST increases, primarily due to expanded impervious surfaces. These insights have the potential to inform localized adaptation strategies for small-scale residential development projects, crucial for managing the impacts of rising land surface temperatures. Full article
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21 pages, 3273 KiB  
Article
Consumers’ Risk Perception of Triploid Food: Empirical Research Based on Variance Analysis and Structural Equation Modeling
by Qi Qi, Taoyang Cai, Keyu Zhou, Zhitao Hu, Fanjie Hao, Yutong Wei, Shangjie Ge-Zhang and Jingang Cui
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3872; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093872 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 695
Abstract
With the advancement of new food processing technology, triploid technology has emerged as a viable option to enhance plant yield and improve crop stress resistance. However, like many emerging technologies, food produced using triploid technology has sparked controversy regarding its safety since its [...] Read more.
With the advancement of new food processing technology, triploid technology has emerged as a viable option to enhance plant yield and improve crop stress resistance. However, like many emerging technologies, food produced using triploid technology has sparked controversy regarding its safety since its inception. Particularly, consumers generally have a limited understanding of new technologies employed in food production, leading to concerns about potential risks and uncertainties associated with these technologies. Such concerns can significantly impact consumers’ acceptance and purchasing intentions toward foods modified using new technologies. This study collected 375 questionnaires from both online and offline sources and conducted a detailed analysis of consumers’ demographic variables, fear degree regarding triploid food, social trust, and concerns about food safety. SPSS and AMOS software were utilized for reliability and validity analysis, variance analysis, multiple comparisons, and confirmatory factor analysis. A structural equation model was developed to comprehensively examine consumers’ risk perception of triploid food and its influencing factors. The results indicate that consumers’ risk perception of triploid food is influenced by various factors. Notably, significant differences were found in consumers’ risk perception of triploid food based on age, educational background, residency, and employment status. Additionally, this study identified a negative correlation between consumers’ risk perception of triploid food and their levels of fear and social trust. Conversely, a positive correlation was observed between risk perception and the degree of attention given to food safety. Full article
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17 pages, 631 KiB  
Article
Impact of Environmental Regulatory Types and Green Technological Innovation on Green Total Factor Productivity in Polluted Areas of China
by Mingzhe Sun and Lingdi Zhao
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3871; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093871 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 647
Abstract
Compared to regions with lighter pollution, the areas heavily affected by pollution in China face more severe environmental problems due to rapid economic growth, which creates a greater urgency for government and corporate environmental requirements. This study innovatively applies mediation and threshold models [...] Read more.
Compared to regions with lighter pollution, the areas heavily affected by pollution in China face more severe environmental problems due to rapid economic growth, which creates a greater urgency for government and corporate environmental requirements. This study innovatively applies mediation and threshold models to explore the potential correlation between green technology innovation, types of environmental regulation, and provincial-level green total factor productivity (GTFP). Additionally, it examines inter-regional differences, determines threshold effects, and introduces regional heterogeneity and mediator variables. The research findings demonstrate that progress in green technology innovation significantly impacts the improvement of provincial-level GTFP. Further mechanism analysis reveals the crucial role of environmental regulation in facilitating sustained enhancement of GTFP through green technology innovation. The promotion of GTFP is more pronounced in eastern and central provinces compared to western regions, and the positive influence of green technology innovation varies significantly among provinces. By investigating the regional differences of polluted areas and introducing mediating variables, this paper explores the environmental regulation mechanism, which has important guiding significance for formulating more effective environmental regulation policies, promoting green technology innovation, and improving GTFP. Full article
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19 pages, 2379 KiB  
Article
Fisheries Impact Pathway: Making Global and Regionalised Impacts on Marine Ecosystem Quality Accessible in Life Cycle Impact Assessment
by Chloe Stanford-Clark, Eleonore Loiseau and Arnaud Helias
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3870; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093870 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 616
Abstract
Overexploitation in wild-capture fisheries is a principal driver of marine biodiversity loss. Currently, efforts are underway to improve the representation of marine damage indicators in Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) methods. The recently operationalised fisheries impact pathway has introduced fishing impacts on the [...] Read more.
Overexploitation in wild-capture fisheries is a principal driver of marine biodiversity loss. Currently, efforts are underway to improve the representation of marine damage indicators in Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) methods. The recently operationalised fisheries impact pathway has introduced fishing impacts on the marine system into the LCIA framework, and the current work seeks to further develop this complex pathway. In total, 5000+ Characterisation Factors for exploited marine organisms have been re-computed with updated fisheries production data (2018), exploring temporal effects on dynamic, biotic resource impacts. An estimation of discarded unwanted by-catch is incorporated into the characterisation. Regional to global scaling factors are tested for the representation of species-specific vulnerability. The temporal and spatial variations in impacts reflect the dynamic nature of real-world fisheries trends, global average impacts increased by 41% (2015–2018). Discarding as an additive, regional estimate increases impacts, most notably for lower impacted stocks. The retention of species-specific detail relating to species distributions is of particular relevance to fisheries when computing global-scale impacts. Updating CFs improves the relevance of the fisheries impact assessment, and continued periodic re-computation is recommended to maintain relevance with real-world trends. Data availability remains a challenge to large-scale marine impact assessment and the continued development of this emergent impact pathway is expected. Full article
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18 pages, 951 KiB  
Article
The Last but Not the Least Piece of Marine Debris Management: Decoding Factors in Consumers’ Intentions to Purchase Recycled Marine Debris Products
by Chung-Ling Chen, Xiang-Nong Jian and Wen-Hao Jiang
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3869; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093869 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 522
Abstract
With a phenomenal amount of marine debris being retrieved from the coast and sea, an initiative to engage in marine debris recycling, particularly of plastic debris, has been on the governmental agenda in Taiwan in recent years. Consumers purchasing products made from marine [...] Read more.
With a phenomenal amount of marine debris being retrieved from the coast and sea, an initiative to engage in marine debris recycling, particularly of plastic debris, has been on the governmental agenda in Taiwan in recent years. Consumers purchasing products made from marine debris is a critical driver behind this initiative. It is therefore important to understand the factors influencing consumers’ purchase intentions towards these products. By employing the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), this paper aims to decode the factors and thereby infer potential measures to enhance consumers’ purchase intentions for these specific products in Taiwan, where recycling marine debris is at the beginning stage. By conducting a questionnaire survey, the study collected a total of 392 valid samples and found that a high percentage of respondents had not heard of marine debris labels as well as having never bought products made from marine debris. In addition, by testing the hypotheses using binary logit regression, the study found that ‘environmental attitude’, ‘perceived price’, ‘availability’, and ‘marine debris label’ were the major factors that significantly influenced consumers’ intentions to purchase these products. With a view to increasing market penetration of these products, this paper highlights the need to strengthen environmental education, subsidize manufacturers in the production of products, promote labels and enhance product availability, and enhance public participation in marine conservation activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Waste Recycling and Circular Economy: From Trash to Treasure)
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24 pages, 1309 KiB  
Article
Always with the Best Intentions? Interrogating the Use of Sustainable Building Assessment Systems in Developing Countries: Kenya
by Faith Ng’eno Chelang’at and Ranald Lawrence
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3868; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093868 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 575
Abstract
Assessment methodologies such as BREEAM and LEED allocate points based on prescribed interventions that promote design features or strategies considered to be more sustainable than others. A focus on accumulating numerical scores, however, often fails to address pertinent contextual issues, particularly within developing [...] Read more.
Assessment methodologies such as BREEAM and LEED allocate points based on prescribed interventions that promote design features or strategies considered to be more sustainable than others. A focus on accumulating numerical scores, however, often fails to address pertinent contextual issues, particularly within developing countries. This paper examines the use of four assessment systems in Kenya—two international systems, LEED-US and Green Star SA-Kenya; and two locally developed systems, Green Mark Kenya and the Safari Green Building Index. The paper compares the relative weighting of different categories under each system, and assesses their appropriateness to a Kenyan context, with reference to the suitability of active technology versus passive design approaches. The paper examines selected examples of ‘green’ buildings in Nairobi, reflecting on the influence of different methods of assessment on the adopted design approaches. The paper argues that international rating systems, such as LEED, often focus on a Western construct of sustainability featuring a systematic bias towards global rather than local perspectives, with an emphasis on physical environmental factors. In pursuit of objectivity, the measurement of non-contextual parameters untailored to local circumstances (e.g., energy performance) is prioritised at the expense of those contingent on local conditions or climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Sustainable and Smart Building)
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27 pages, 7480 KiB  
Article
Carbon Footprint Reduction by Reclaiming Condensed Water
by Yiu-Kuen Leung and Ka Wai Eric Cheng
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3867; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093867 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 517
Abstract
Everyday activity incurs carbon footprints, which are classified as personal, production, organizational and national, and may be assessed by input–output analysis (IOA), life-cycle assessment (LCA), or the combination of LCA and IOA methods. Notwithstanding international standards, like ISO 14064 and Publicly Available Specification [...] Read more.
Everyday activity incurs carbon footprints, which are classified as personal, production, organizational and national, and may be assessed by input–output analysis (IOA), life-cycle assessment (LCA), or the combination of LCA and IOA methods. Notwithstanding international standards, like ISO 14064 and Publicly Available Specification (PAS) released for standardization, carbon footprint results can vary and sometimes lack consistency that due to variations in data sources, crossover boundary definitions, and operational boundaries for indirect emissions. The novelty of this study is the direct utilization of condensed water in an existing cooling water system, without the need for prior wastewater treatment, as typically required for greywater. The lack of practical case studies exploring the water–energy nexus in the context of reclaiming condensed water for evaporative cooling tower systems makes this research particularly significant. This highlights that condensed water can be a straightforward and cost-effective solution for both water conservation and energy savings. This case study highlights the benefits of reclaiming condensed water as supplementary cooling water, which proved effective in water quality treatment and dilution augmentation, considering that a higher cycle of concentration (CoC) was achieved, leading to reduced bleed-off that resulted in a water saving of 44% for make-up and 80% for bleed-off water, and energy savings from 6.9% to 13.1% per degree Celsius of condensing refrigerant temperature (CRT). The analytical assessment revealed that reclaiming condensed water is a promising answer for green building and is a by-product of condensation without extra power demands, avoiding the generation of an increased carbon footprint and exacerbation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from freshwater resource extraction, and for the production of energy-efficient devices or substitutions. By eliminating the need for wastewater treatment, this research enhances the practicality and feasibility of direct use of condensed water in various applications. This approach not only promotes sustainability by conserving water and energy but also renews interest among proponents of green building practices. It has the potential to accelerate the adoption of this method and integrate it into green building designs. Full article
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20 pages, 488 KiB  
Article
Which Values Matter Most to Romanian Consumers? Exploring the Impact of Green Attitudes and Communication on Buying Behavior
by Răzvan-Andrei Corboș, Ovidiu-Iulian Bunea, Monica Triculescu and Sorina Ioana Mișu
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3866; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093866 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 876
Abstract
The increasing commitment to sustainable consumption has intensified the scholarly focus on the determinants of environmentally friendly consumer behavior. This investigation provides an insight into the intricate interplay between green consumer values, functional (FV), conditional (CV), social (SV), and emotional (EV), and their [...] Read more.
The increasing commitment to sustainable consumption has intensified the scholarly focus on the determinants of environmentally friendly consumer behavior. This investigation provides an insight into the intricate interplay between green consumer values, functional (FV), conditional (CV), social (SV), and emotional (EV), and their impact on buying behavior (BB). Using survey data, we scrutinized the mediating roles of attitudes toward purchasing green products (APGP) and receptivity to green communication (RGC). Using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM), the empirical analysis yielded a mix of supported and unsupported claims about the mediation effects on the relationship between consumer values and buying behavior. Direct effects of FV on BB were significant, but the indirect effect through APGP was not, suggesting that APGP does not mediate the relationship between FV and BB, and that consumers’ functional value perceptions influence their buying behavior independently of their attitudes toward green products. Both direct and indirect effects of EV and FV on BB through APGP and RGC were significant, suggesting partial mediation. The results suggest that APGP and RGC partially mediate the effects of EV and FV on BB but do not mediate the effects of CV and SV on BB. Comparing these findings with previous research, we observe some parallels and divergences. Our study confirms the significant direct effect of FV on buying behavior, consistent with previous studies that underscore the importance of tangible benefits in influencing consumer decisions. Furthermore, the significant direct and indirect effects of EV on BB and APGP in our results are consistent with previous research, suggesting that emotional factors play a decisive role in green purchasing behaviors. However, factors such as CV and SV were found to have no impact in our research compared to previous studies. These discrepancies suggest that while CV influences attitudes, it may not strongly influence purchasing behavior through the mediating constructs in our model. Furthermore, the results imply that social factors may influence attitudes but do not necessarily translate into actual purchasing behavior in our context. Our study also reveals that RGC plays a substantial role in influencing buying behavior, indicating a significant total effect greater than indicated in previous research. These insights illuminate the complex mechanisms by which consumer attitudes and communication receptivity shape eco-conscious purchasing choices. Theoretical contributions enrich the discourse on green consumer behavior, while practical implications guide marketers in crafting communication strategies that resonate with consumer values and attitudes, thus fostering sustainable consumption patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behaviour and Environmental Sustainability)
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22 pages, 7814 KiB  
Article
Classification of Roadway Context and Target Speed for Multilane Highways in Thailand Using Fuzzy Expert System
by Chomphunut Sutheerakul, Nopadon Kronprasert, Wichuda Satiennam and Moe Sandi Zaw
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3865; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093865 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 496
Abstract
The classification of roadway contexts and speeds is a critical step in the planning, design, and operation of highway infrastructure. In developing countries, road users encounter safety and operational issues due to poorly defined roadway contexts and inappropriately determined target speeds for a [...] Read more.
The classification of roadway contexts and speeds is a critical step in the planning, design, and operation of highway infrastructure. In developing countries, road users encounter safety and operational issues due to poorly defined roadway contexts and inappropriately determined target speeds for a highway network. This study developed an expert system for classifying roadway contexts and target speeds of multilane highway segments and applied the classification process to 16,235 km of multilane highways in Thailand’s highway network. The proposed methodology used a fuzzy decision mechanism to deal with subjective and imprecise expert judgment (e.g., low, high), many variables, and a complex evaluation process. This study used the Fuzzy Delphi method to identify the possible important factors influencing contexts and speeds and the Fuzzy Inference System method to reason factors to categorize multilane highway segments in Thailand into different classes of roadway contexts (e.g., rural, low-density suburban, high-density suburban, and urban highways) and target speeds (e.g., ≤50 km/h, 50–60 km/h, 60–70 km/h, 70–80 km/h, 80–90 km/h, 90–100 km/h, and 100 km/h). The study was based on data from questionnaire surveys of experts and field investigations of 120 highway segments. The results showed that roadside environments and activities influence the roadway contexts, while the target speeds are sensitive to the roadway characteristics and contexts. These findings support the need for changes in context-adapted highway design and speed management. The proposed expert system provided high accuracy (90.8%) in classifications of both roadway contexts and target speeds. The fuzzy expert system provides a systematic and structural framework for analyzing imprecise data in highway contextual and speed classifications and improving the clarity and accuracy of the evaluation process. The implementation of the fuzzy expert system has the potential to revolutionize the highway classification decision-making problem under uncertainty. Full article
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18 pages, 6647 KiB  
Article
Research on Summer Indoor Air Conditioning Design Parameters in Haikou City: A Field Study of Indoor Thermal Perception and Comfort
by Jiaxi Hu, Chengxi Lyu, Yinzhen Hou, Neng Zhu and Kairui Liu
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3864; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093864 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 440
Abstract
Escalating global climate change and the intensification of urban heatwaves have led to an increase in summer air conditioning cooling energy consumption. This phenomenon is particularly critical in tropical regions, as it may trigger an energy crisis. The rational setting of indoor thermal [...] Read more.
Escalating global climate change and the intensification of urban heatwaves have led to an increase in summer air conditioning cooling energy consumption. This phenomenon is particularly critical in tropical regions, as it may trigger an energy crisis. The rational setting of indoor thermal design parameters can help conserve energy to the maximum extent while ensuring thermal comfort for occupants. This study selected Haikou City, a unique tropical city in China, as the research location. Indoor environment measurements and a questionnaire survey were conducted with participants, and the outdoor thermal environment sensitivity, population attributes and differences in thermal sensation, thermal neutral temperature, and comfort range were calculated and analyzed. The following results were obtained. Based on the overall population, long-term residence, and temporary residence classification, the indoor thermal comfort needs of residents in tropical cities in Haikou were effectively identified. The actual thermal neutral temperature of the overall population is 25.7 °C, and 90% of the acceptable thermal comfort temperature range is 23.2 °C–28.0 °C. The actual thermal neutral temperature of the regular residents is 27.3 °C, and 90% of the acceptable thermal comfort temperature range is 23.3 °C–31.4 °C. The actual thermal neutral temperature of the temporary population is 25.5 °C, and 90% of the acceptable thermal comfort temperature range is 23.0 °C–28.0 °C. These research results have an important reference value for improving the setting of the temperature of air conditioning in tropical areas in summer and further reducing energy consumption, which is conducive to sustainable development. Full article
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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 565
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
(This article belongs to the Collection Environmental Assessment, Life Cycle Analysis and Sustainability)
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22 pages, 449 KiB  
Article
An Investigation of Circular Fashion: Antecedents of Consumer Willingness to Rent Clothes Online
by Aistė Dovalienė and Leja Salciute
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3862; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093862 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 486
Abstract
Circular fashion has gained attention among practitioners and academics. We further contribute to this debate by investigating leasing in the context of rented online clothing in greater depth. First, we conduct a qualitative study and identify several themes important to individuals when renting [...] Read more.
Circular fashion has gained attention among practitioners and academics. We further contribute to this debate by investigating leasing in the context of rented online clothing in greater depth. First, we conduct a qualitative study and identify several themes important to individuals when renting clothing online. The findings are as follows: social representation, green value, familiarity and innovativeness. Several categories emerged from the interviews with the respondents in relation to social representation: use of technology, feeling good when renting clothing online and renting clothing online as a necessity. Familiarity factors relate to circular fashion’s role in reducing perceived risks associated with a relatively new service in the market. Green value perceptions have emerged among respondents that reflect a growing environmental consciousness. Second, based on the initial qualitative findings, we introduce an ad-hoc theoretical model and put forward propositions. Our theoretical model emphasises the role of four antecedents (i.e., social representation, green value, familiarity and innovativeness) when influencing consumer willingness to rent clothing online and a shift towards circular consumption. We develop theoretical propositions and provide recommendations to marketing managers and public policy makers regarding how to encourage a change towards circular consumption behaviour among individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption and Circular Economy)
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22 pages, 1327 KiB  
Article
Can Creating an Agro-Product Regional Public Brand Improve the Ability of Farmers to Sustainably Increase Their Revenue?
by Zhiyan Ma and Guanghua Qiao
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3861; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093861 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 504
Abstract
Through the analysis of various typical cases, this study examines whether the establishment of an agro-product regional public brand (ARPB) can effectively boost the revenue of farmers and increase their share in the supply chain. The findings suggest that an early-stage ARPB can [...] Read more.
Through the analysis of various typical cases, this study examines whether the establishment of an agro-product regional public brand (ARPB) can effectively boost the revenue of farmers and increase their share in the supply chain. The findings suggest that an early-stage ARPB can command a price premium for products, yet its overall contribution to farmers’ revenue remains limited due to scale constraints. The premium ability of an ARPB is influenced by product characteristics and sales strategies, underscoring the need to enhance control over terminal sales. Although the revenue of all operators in an ARPB supply chain shows an increase compared to that of a non-ARPB supply chain, the ratios of revenue allocated to farmers diminish. The Shapley value method was utilized to optimize the revenue-sharing in the supply chain, indicating a need to increase the share of revenue for farmers. This optimization necessitates the formation of a community of interests between farmers, processing enterprises, and sellers to facilitate the upstream movement of brand premiums. Furthermore, enhancing the government’s mediation and regulatory functions can provide farmers with more opportunities to partake in brand benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)
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24 pages, 1561 KiB  
Article
Optimal Preventive Maintenance Policy for Equipment Rented under Free Leasing as a Contributor to Sustainable Development
by Lazhar Tlili, Anis Chelbi, Rim Gharyani and Wajdi Trabelsi
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3860; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093860 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 575
Abstract
Leasing has proven to be a business model that is perfectly suited to the circular economy. It significantly contributes to sustainable development by enabling the reuse of machinery and equipment after each lease period and by including preventive maintenance and overhauls within and [...] Read more.
Leasing has proven to be a business model that is perfectly suited to the circular economy. It significantly contributes to sustainable development by enabling the reuse of machinery and equipment after each lease period and by including preventive maintenance and overhauls within and between lease terms. This helps to extend the life cycle of equipment, promote value recovery, and reduce waste. This paper examines an imperfect preventive maintenance (PM) strategy applied to equipment rented under the terms of “free leasing”. In free leasing, the lessor makes the equipment available to the customer for a specified period of time without charging rent. In return, the customer is required to purchase the equipment’s consumables exclusively from the lessor. The lessor is also responsible for the maintenance of the equipment at the customer’s premises. The greater the quantity of consumables used by the customer, the more the equipment will deteriorate. Consequently, the lessor must be able to determine the most effective approach to preventive maintenance, ensuring that it aligns with the customer’s planned usage rate while maximizing profit. This work proposes a PM strategy to be adopted by the lessor during the free lease period. This strategy involves the performance of imperfect PM actions just before the start of the lease period and then periodically. Different packages of preventive actions can be applied each time, with each package having a different cost depending on the level of effectiveness in terms of rejuvenating the equipment. Minimal repairs are performed in the event of equipment failure. The decision variables are the PM period to be adopted and the maintenance efficiency level to be chosen for each preventive intervention. The objective is to determine, for a given customer with an estimated consumption rate profile of consumables, the optimal values of these decision variables so that the lessor maximizes their profit. A mathematical model is developed to express the lessor’s average profit over each lease period. A solution procedure is developed for small instances of the problem, and an Artificial Bee Colony algorithm is implemented for larger instances. A numerical example and a sensitivity analysis are presented. Full article
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18 pages, 754 KiB  
Article
The Enabling Effect of Digital Economy on High-Quality Agricultural Development-Evidence from China
by Junguo Hua, Jijie Yu, Yu Song, Qi Xue and Yujia Zhou
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3859; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093859 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 1282
Abstract
In recent years, the digital economy has shown great potential in regard to in driving social production and development. In the context of the construction of digital villages, the deep integration of the digital economy and agricultural development has injected new vitality into [...] Read more.
In recent years, the digital economy has shown great potential in regard to in driving social production and development. In the context of the construction of digital villages, the deep integration of the digital economy and agricultural development has injected new vitality into improving the quality and efficiency of agricultural production, becoming an important way to promote sustainable agricultural development. Based on the panel data of 31 provinces in China from 2012 to 2021, the study utilizes the entropy method to measure the level of the digital economy and the high-quality development of agriculture. Additionally, this study explores the impact and mechanism of the digital economy on the high-quality development of agriculture by the fixed effect, mediation effect, and the spatial spillover models. In summary, the digital economy can significantly drive the high-quality development of agriculture, which is still valid after considering endogeneity and robustness. Mechanistically, the rationalization of industrial structure is an important path for the digital economy in regard to driving the high-quality development of agriculture. Regionally, the dividends of the digital economy for high-quality agricultural development in the central and western regions are greater than those in the eastern region. Spatially, the digital economy has a spatial spillover effect on the high-quality development of agriculture. Moreover, it can promote the synergistic development of adjoining regions. Therefore, policy recommendations are made in terms of strengthening rural infrastructure, emphasizing the development of regional shortcomings, and strengthening internal with external regional linkages. Full article
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76 pages, 1078 KiB  
Article
The Impact of AI in Sustainable Development Goal Implementation: A Delphi Study
by Simon Ofori Ametepey, Clinton Aigbavboa, Wellington Didibhuku Thwala and Hutton Addy
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3858; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093858 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 614
Abstract
Artificial intelligence emerges as a powerful catalyst poised to reshape the global sustainability landscape by facilitating the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This comprehensive Delphi study meticulously probes the insights of domain experts, shedding light on the strategic utilization of AI to [...] Read more.
Artificial intelligence emerges as a powerful catalyst poised to reshape the global sustainability landscape by facilitating the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This comprehensive Delphi study meticulously probes the insights of domain experts, shedding light on the strategic utilization of AI to advance these critical sustainability objectives. Employing rigorous statistical techniques, encompassing measures of central tendency and interquartile deviation, this research scrutinizes consensus dynamics among experts and elucidates potential variations in their viewpoints. The findings resoundingly convey experts’ collective positive perspective regarding AI’s pivotal role in propelling the SDGs forward. Through two iterative rounds of extensive discussions, a compelling consensus crystallizes—AI indeed exerts an overall positive impact, exemplified by a robust mean score of 78.8%. Intriguingly, distinct SDGs manifest varied propensities toward AI intervention, with Goals 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, and 15 basking in the radiance of highly positive impacts. Goals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, and 12 exhibit positive impact scores, indicating a juncture ripe for positive advancements. Meanwhile, Goal 16 and Goal 17 languish with neutral scores, signifying a juncture demanding nuanced deliberations about AI’s impact on peace, justice, and strong institutions as well as on partnerships for the goals, respectively. This paper underscores AI as a formidable instrument poised to address humanity’s most pressing challenges while harmonizing seamlessly with the overarching SDG objectives. It gracefully dovetails into established practices across pivotal domains such as health, education, and resilient infrastructures, amplifying the collective global endeavor to navigate the path toward a more sustainable future. Full article
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0 pages, 3420 KiB  
Article
Scientific and Practical Challenges for the Development of a New Approach to the Simulation of Remanufacturing
by Pawel Pawlewski
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3857; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093857 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 497
Abstract
This article explores the scientific and practical challenges associated with developing simulation modeling methods for remanufacturing within a circular economy framework. It aims to define this concept and identify the key hurdles that need to be overcome for its successful implementation. According to [...] Read more.
This article explores the scientific and practical challenges associated with developing simulation modeling methods for remanufacturing within a circular economy framework. It aims to define this concept and identify the key hurdles that need to be overcome for its successful implementation. According to the six principles of sustainable development, the key pillar is remanufacturing. Remanufacturing helps the environment in several different ways, including: saving energy, the conservation of raw materials, the conservation of space, landfills, the reduction of air pollution, and greater fuel efficiency. This process closes the loop in the supply chain, exemplifying the principles of a circular economy. The research methods used are primarily the analysis and criticism of literature, document examination—especially in relation to existing simulation programs and analysis—the logical construction method, and the heuristic method, used to define concept of simulation modelling. In response to scientific and practical challenges, the concept of a new modeling method was defined and presented. This concept uses the legacy of Lean and the author’s original ideas regarding the structuring of the remanufacturing factory and processes. The main contribution of this study is integration, embedding this concept into the simulation software. A comparison with existing solutions and the advantages of the new concept are also included in the article. Full article
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19 pages, 3069 KiB  
Review
Charting the Sustainable Course: Navigating the Saudi Arabia Medical and Wellness Tourism Roadmap with Business Model Canvas (BMC)
by Thaib Alharethi and Moaaz Kabil
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3856; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093856 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 619
Abstract
Medical and wellness tourism has emerged as a pivotal sector with significant economic implications globally, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. This study delves into the landscape of Saudi Arabia’s medical and wellness tourism, recognizing its importance as a key player in the tourism [...] Read more.
Medical and wellness tourism has emerged as a pivotal sector with significant economic implications globally, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. This study delves into the landscape of Saudi Arabia’s medical and wellness tourism, recognizing its importance as a key player in the tourism industry. The study aims to elevate this sector to new heights on the global stage by employing the Business Model Canvas (BMC) as a strategic tool. BMC allows for a comprehensive analysis of the medical tourism industry in Saudi Arabia, breaking down key elements across its nine blocks: key partners, key activities, key resources, value propositions, customer segments, channels, customer relationships, cost structure, and revenue streams. The results of this study shed light on the unique selling proposition (USP) as a crucial strategic step for Saudi Arabia to distinguish itself and enhance its position in the international medical tourism arena. By identifying and maximizing the unique aspects within each BMC block, the study presents a roadmap for Saudi Arabia, navigating the challenges and capitalizing on the potential of the medical and wellness tourism sector. This research serves as a guide, emphasizing the strategic importance of a well-defined business model to shape the future of medical and wellness tourism in Saudi Arabia and establish a prominent global presence. Full article
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23 pages, 25107 KiB  
Article
Variation in Debris-Flow-Prone Areas with Ecosystem Stability: A Case Study of the Qipan Catchment in the Wenchuan Earthquake Region
by Xiaoyu Zhan, Xudong Hu, Zexin Jing, Wennian Xu, Dong Xia and Gujie Ding
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3855; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093855 - 4 May 2024
Viewed by 643
Abstract
The spatial distribution of vegetation in a basin has a far-reaching influence on the potential for sediment separation and transport capacity. However, many landslides induced by strong earthquakes have greatly changed the existing pattern, which further increases the probability of debris flow in [...] Read more.
The spatial distribution of vegetation in a basin has a far-reaching influence on the potential for sediment separation and transport capacity. However, many landslides induced by strong earthquakes have greatly changed the existing pattern, which further increases the probability of debris flow in a basin during heavy rainfall and has a significant impact on the stability of the basin. Thus, this study selected the debris flow basin in the Qipan catchment of the Wenchuan earthquake area as the research object. Multisource and high-precision remote sensing images were used to analyze the land use changes in the basin, and the index of connectivity (IC) was introduced to analyze the evolution of sediment transport capacity. An ecosystem stability assessment method suitable for post-earthquake debris flow basins was proposed. Through quantitative assessment of the ecosystem stability of the basin after the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 and the two debris flow events after the earthquake, the dynamic relationship between the debris-flow-prone area and the ecosystem stability of the basin was revealed. The results showed that the stability of the ecosystem in the Qipan catchment increased annually, indicating a stable and substable state. The spatial distribution characteristics were lower in the north and south and greater in the middle. By comparing the evaluation results with the actual terrain change trend, the accuracy and feasibility of the evaluation method are verified. The results of this study provide a scientific basis for the formulation of regional disaster prevention strategies and help to accelerate the improvement of regional stability in debris-flow-prone areas. Full article
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24 pages, 2118 KiB  
Article
More than 30 Years of PVC Recycling in Europe—A Critical Inventory
by Uwe Lahl and Barbara Zeschmar-Lahl
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3854; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093854 - 4 May 2024
Viewed by 1078
Abstract
PVC has a special status, as chlorine is a component of the polymer molecule. The properties of chlorine are the reason why the polymer molecule needs additivation. PVC is the mass plastic to which the most diverse and quantitatively largest number of additives [...] Read more.
PVC has a special status, as chlorine is a component of the polymer molecule. The properties of chlorine are the reason why the polymer molecule needs additivation. PVC is the mass plastic to which the most diverse and quantitatively largest number of additives are added. This makes PVC difficult to recycle. More than three decades ago, the PVC industry announced its commitment to improve the sustainability of the material through material recycling. We analysed the latest figures from the European PVC industry, ensuring that the statistics included the quantities that enter the market as recyclate. We also analysed the significance of replacing virgin PVC with recyclates. We conclude from this that, after a good three decades, the recycling result is rather meagre. The lion’s share of PVC waste in Europe is still going to waste-to-energy plants, where it tends to be a nuisance. The many announcements to close the chlorine cycle via waste incineration have not got very far either. And the announcements to expand chemical recycling in parallel have not been successful. On the basis of this stocktaking, we have analysed, in a second separately published part, which conclusions can be drawn for regulatory measures, building on a current ECHA investigation report. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability: Resources and Waste Management)
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22 pages, 10086 KiB  
Article
Use of Recycled Plastic Fibers to Control Shrinkage and Desiccation Cracking in Clayey Soils
by Carolina Hernández, Gloria Beltrán and Eduardo Botero
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3853; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093853 - 4 May 2024
Viewed by 539
Abstract
Two main issues are addressed in this work. The first issue is environmental concerns about managing plastic waste on a large scale by promoting reuse with low energy requirements in the recycling processes. The second issue is the desiccation cracks in fine soils, [...] Read more.
Two main issues are addressed in this work. The first issue is environmental concerns about managing plastic waste on a large scale by promoting reuse with low energy requirements in the recycling processes. The second issue is the desiccation cracks in fine soils, induced by prolonged droughts, which have motivated the interest in mitigating the adverse effects on the stability of geotechnical works using recycled materials. Therefore, this work addresses a strategy based on the use of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP) fibers for the reinforcement of soils prone to cracking. To evaluate the effectiveness of plastic fibers in controlling soil volumetric changes and cracking during drying, several experiments were conducted in an environmental chamber to properly simulate and monitor the desiccation process. Image analysis and suction measurements provided several metrics and parameters, and their usefulness is discussed in detail, both for the unconventional determination of the optimum fiber content by weight with 100% effectiveness in preventing cracking and for correlating fiber content with reductions in shrinkage and cracking patterns, thus contributing to the understanding of the behavior of fiber-reinforced soils. Finally, examples of large-scale applications of recycled plastic fibers in geotechnical works are proposed, and the positive environmental impact is estimated. Full article
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18 pages, 4897 KiB  
Review
Application of Waste Tire in Construction: A Road towards Sustainability and Circular Economy
by Mohammad R. Hassan and Denis Rodrigue
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3852; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093852 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 853
Abstract
The global demand for rubber is on a steady rise, which is driven by the increasing production of automobiles and the growing need for industrial, medical, and household products. This surge in demand has led to a significant increase in rubber waste, posing [...] Read more.
The global demand for rubber is on a steady rise, which is driven by the increasing production of automobiles and the growing need for industrial, medical, and household products. This surge in demand has led to a significant increase in rubber waste, posing a major global environmental challenge. End-of-life tire (ELT) is a primary source of rubber waste, having significant environmental hazards due to its massive stockpiles. While landfilling is a low-cost and easy-to-implement solution, it is now largely prohibited due to environmental concerns. Recently, ELT rubber waste has received considerable attention for its potential applications in civil engineering and construction. These applications not only enhance sustainability but also foster a circular economy between ELT rubber waste with the civil engineering and construction sectors. This review article presents a general overview of the recent research progress and challenges in the civil engineering applications of ELT rubber waste. It also discusses commercially available recycled rubber-based construction materials, their properties, testing standards, and certification. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time such a discussion on commercial products has been presented, especially for civil engineering applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy in the Construction Sector)
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