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Sustainable Waste Management: Recycling and Resource Recovery Required for the Renewable Energy Transition

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Waste and Recycling".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 June 2024 | Viewed by 186

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
Interests: sustainability; built environment; ZEB; materials; policy; regulation; energy efficiency; circular economy; education
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
Interests: circular economy; industrial ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With increasing awareness of the need to reduce human-generated greenhouse gases to mitigate global warming and climate change, global energy systems are transitioning to renewable sources. Over recent years, energy generation from non-renewable sources like coal, gas and petroleum has begun to be gradually phased out and replaced with renewable sources like solar and wind. Transitioning to renewable sources requires system-wide changes in infrastructure, consumption, and behavioral patterns.  Renewable energy systems are not without their environmental costs, as most of these technologies require non-renewable and scarce material like lithium, cobalt, and zinc.

These transitions result in older power plants needing to be decommissioned, sites remediated, and the obsolete infrastructure being managed in the most environmentally and economically optimal manner. With more distributed energy generation systems in place, current infrastructure will need to be upgraded, and some infrastructure, like gas pipelines, may need to be decommissioned and disposed of.  

At a household level, the reliance on electric appliances and vehicles will increase. As this happens, current equipment will become obsolete and there will be an increase in the quantity of such equipment being disposed of. As the uptake of rooftop solar PV increases, the disposal of such energy generation sources will be the responsibility of individual households, which contrasts with the decommissioning of larger infrastructure, which are typically owned by governments or larger corporations. As these electric systems come to the end of their life, proper management and recovery processes need to be in place so that resource use is optimized.

The aim of this Special Issue is to compile research on how waste management systems need to change to cope with this energy transition so that wider environmental impacts are mitigated.


  • Circular economy practices complementing a low carbon economy;
  • Policy and governance;
  • Behavioral and social change;
  • Recycling and resource recovery.
In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:
  • Developing circular economy systems and circular business models catered to a low carbon economy;
  • Optimal recycling and recovery solutions for obsolete equipment and vehicles (internal combustion engine vehicles, gas cooktops and heating units, etc.);
  • Optimal recycling and recovery solutions of renewable energy generation sources (solar PV systems, wind turbines, etc.);
  • Repurposing current systems and equipment to be compatible with renewable transition (conversion of internal combustion to EV);
  • Behavioral and attitudinal changes enabling a renewable transition;
  • Assessment of regulatory, policy, and governance mechanisms;
  • Product as service models supporting decarbonization;
  • Case studies/ best practices;
  • Forecasting of quantities and types of waste generation due to the transition to renewable energy.

I/We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Usha Iyer-Raniga
Dr. Akvan Gajanayake
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • recycling
  • resource recovery
  • renewable energy
  • electrification
  • energy transition

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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