Impact of Recycling Environmental Impact Materials on Energy Savings: Life-Cycle Assessment

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 June 2024 | Viewed by 2753

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Intelligence in Processes, Advanced Catalysts and Solvents (iPRACS), Faculty of Applied Engineering, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, 2020 Antwerp, Belgium
Interests: circular economy; life-cycle assessment; polymers; packaging; recycling

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Guest Editor
Bioresource Processing Research Institute of Australia, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia
Interests: cellulose nanomaterials; barrier layers; life-cycle analysis; size measurement

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global warming and soaring waste generation are the foremost challenges faced by the modern world due to inefficient use of existing high-environmental-impact materials. To overcome these issues, recycling and reusing resources are increasingly being emphasized. Recycling could be a viable option, but not necessarily in all cases. Many technologies exist or are under development for recycling; however, the challenge of transitioning to resource-efficient systems is often not due to the unavailability of technology for resource recovery but due to poor planning and management and a lack of design methodology to highlight, recognize and utilize the solution with the lowest environmental impact for a particular scenario. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is an ideal method to analyze the alternatives for resource recovery in a context of environmental sustainability. LCA is an interesting tool to compute environmental footprints of process and product streams during the course of their life cycle.

LCA can be more interesting and descriptive when combined with other assessment techniques such as risk assessment and technoeconomic analysis to examine different alternatives for a particular system and provide useful insights on the potential trade-offs among different impact categories. The use of recycling and LCA is an excellent combination, as LCA guides towards the goal of minimizing wastes.

This Special Issue will showcase studies on the impact of recycling on different high-environmental-impact materials (e.g, building materials, packaging and biobased materials). Studies in sustainable production, technoeconomic assessment, energy savings and scalability in the context of recycling and LCA of high-environment-impact materials are encouraged.

Dr. Humayun Nadeem
Dr. Warren Batchelor
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • global warming
  • LCA
  • recycling
  • technoeconomic analysis
  • sustainable process design
  • environmental risk assessment
  • scalability
  • energy savings
  • waste management

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

14 pages, 1564 KiB  
Article
Recycling, Material Flow, and Recycled Content Demands of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Bottles towards a Circular Economy in Korea
by Chonghee Lee, Yong-Chul Jang, Kyunghoon Choi, Byeonghwan Kim, Hakyun Song and Youngsun Kwon
Environments 2024, 11(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11020025 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 2212
Abstract
The recycling and proper management of PET bottles is needed to avoid plastic pollution, as well as to achieve a plastic circular economy. In this study, we examined the recycling system of PET bottles and their material flows by life cycle, from production [...] Read more.
The recycling and proper management of PET bottles is needed to avoid plastic pollution, as well as to achieve a plastic circular economy. In this study, we examined the recycling system of PET bottles and their material flows by life cycle, from production to recycling and disposal under different scenarios with reduced consumption for PET bottles. In Korea, PET bottle recycling has been managed by the extended producer responsibility system since 2003. As of 2021, annual usage of PET bottles per capita in Korea was estimated to be approximately 6.5 kg. The recycling rate of PET bottles after collection was determined to be 79% in 2021. However, recycled PET (or r-PET) from mechanical recycling is mostly used in low-grade PET applications such as short fibers, bands, and sheets. More than 112 thousand tons of r-PET chips would be needed to meet the 30% recycled content requirement in PET bottles in 2030 by regulation. Thus, there is an urgent need for high-quality secondary raw materials (i.e., food-grade) by adopting advanced sorting and recycling technologies for PET bottles with recycled content. PET bottle-to-bottle recycling practices can ensure the production of high-quality recycled materials and move Korea toward a plastic circular economy. Full article
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