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Advanced Studies in Recycling and Waste Management

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2024 | Viewed by 5009

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
Interests: circular economy; municipal solid waste disposal and recycling; industrial carbon emission reduction system engineering; environmental internet of things and big data
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
School of Environment & Natural Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China
Interests: industrial symbiosis; circular economy; environmental sustainability

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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing, China
Interests: solid waste management; circular economy; environment modelling

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
Interests: waste management; circular economy; environmental sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Driven by the population explosion and economic growth, solid waste generation is drastically rising, presenting a great challenge in both developed and developing countries. Additionally, estimates show that the waste sector is responsible for almost 3% of global direct greenhouse gas emissions, while waste recycling has huge potential for carbon reduction. With broad initiatives to address climate change and achieve carbon neutrality, proper waste disposal in a more sustainable way through reduction, recycling and recovery solutions has become a major concern. An economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound waste management system requires collective efforts from all stakeholders in the product lifecycle, including businesses, consumers and governments.

This Special Issue, titled "Advanced Studies in Recycling and Waste Management", aims to collate advanced research regarding the recycling and management of solid wastes towards sustainability and carbon neutrality. The scope includes recent developments, emerging concepts, cutting-edge technologies and related modelling techniques. This Special Issue is expected to bring scientific communities together, facilitate view exchanges from different perspectives and inspire novel research works.

Original research articles and reviews are welcome, with the research areas including (but not being limited to) the following:

  • latest advances in waste recycling technology and its application;
  • analysis of metabolic flow of urban solid waste and waste water;
  • digital and intelligent solutions for waste management;
  • environmental and economic impact assessment of waste management   systems;
  • waste management transition paths towards carbon neutrality;
  • practice and experience towards a “zero waste” society.

Aim: To collate advanced research regarding the recycling and management of solid wastes towards sustainability and carbon neutrality.

Scope: Recent developments, emerging concepts, cutting-edge technologies and related modelling techniques related to waste recycling and management.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Zongguo Wen
Dr. Yuan Tao
Dr. Fan Fei
Dr. Yanyan Tang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com 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.

Keywords

  • waste management
  • recycling
  • advanced technologies
  • carbon neutrality
  • artificially intelligent solutions
  • environment and economic impact assessment

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 1452 KiB  
Article
Unveiling Environmental Influences on Sustainable Fertilizer Production through Insect Farming
by Malontema Katchali, Kennedy Senagi, Edward Richard, Dennis Beesigamukama, Chrysantus M. Tanga, Gina Athanasiou, Theodore Zahariadis, Domenica Casciano, Alexandre Lazarou and Henri E. Z. Tonnang
Sustainability 2024, 16(9), 3746; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16093746 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 669
Abstract
Entomocomposting is fast and environmentally friendly, boosts soil quality and crop production, and improves resilience to climate change. The black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) catalyze the composting process, but their efficiency is highly influenced by environmental factors and the quality of the substrate. [...] Read more.
Entomocomposting is fast and environmentally friendly, boosts soil quality and crop production, and improves resilience to climate change. The black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) catalyze the composting process, but their efficiency is highly influenced by environmental factors and the quality of the substrate. This study employs response surface methodology to discern physical–chemical factors that influence the nutrient quality of BSF frass fertilizer. Internet of Things (IoT) sensors were deployed to monitor in real-time both independent variables (air temperature, moisture content, humidity, and substrate temperature) and dependent variables (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium); the data were relayed to the cloud. A non-linear regression model was used to study the relationship between the dependent and independent variables. Results showed that air humidity and air temperature did not have a significant effect on nitrogen and phosphorus accumulation in frass fertilizer, respectively, but phosphorus was significantly influenced by air humidity. On the other hand, neither air temperature nor moisture content has a significant effect on potassium concentration in frass fertilizer. We found that an air temperature of 30 °C and 41.5 °C, substrate temperature of 32.5 °C and 35 °C, moisture content between 70 and 80%, and relative humidity beyond 38% can be conducive for the production of high-quality BSF frass fertilizer. Model validation results showed better robustness of prediction with R2 values of 63–77%, and Radj2 values of 62–76% for nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Our findings highlight the potential for the application of digital tools as a fast and cost-effective decision support system to optimize insect farming for the production of high-quality frass fertilizer for use in sustainable agriculture and crop production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Studies in Recycling and Waste Management)
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14 pages, 3247 KiB  
Article
In-Line Co-Processing of Stainless Steel Pickling Sludge Using Argon Oxygen Decarburization Slag Bath: Behavior and Mechanism
by Zheng Zhao, Yanling Zhang, Fang Yuan and Tuo Wu
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 1895; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16051895 - 26 Feb 2024
Viewed by 722
Abstract
Stainless steel pickling sludge (SSPS) is classified as hazardous solid waste, while Argon Oxygen Decarburization (AOD) slag is challenging to utilize due to the leaching toxicity of Cr. This study introduces a novel in-line co-processing technique for AOD slag and SSPS, parallel to [...] Read more.
Stainless steel pickling sludge (SSPS) is classified as hazardous solid waste, while Argon Oxygen Decarburization (AOD) slag is challenging to utilize due to the leaching toxicity of Cr. This study introduces a novel in-line co-processing technique for AOD slag and SSPS, parallel to the steelmaking process, aimed at metal recovery, sulfur fixation, and slag detoxification: pre-treatment-AOD slag bath approach. The transformations and migrations of sulfur and metal elements, such as Fe and Cr, in the co-processed mixture were analyzed using thermogravimetric–mass spectrometry (TG-MS) and scanning electron microscopy–energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). The results indicated that sulfur in SSPS could be transformed from CaSO4 to CaS under controlled low pre-reduction temperatures (below 800 °C), facilitating its stabilization in the slag and achieving a sulfur fixation rate of over 99%. Metal elements, including iron and chromium, first formed a small portion of spinel (FeCr2O4) during the pre-reduction phase, then Fe-Cr or Fe-Cr-C-based alloy particles were rapidly formed at high temperatures and in the presence of reducers in the slag bath (1550 °C), aggregating and growing spontaneously, ultimately achieving a metal recovery rate of over 95%. Furthermore, a reaction model for SSPS briquettes in the AOD slag bath was established to further reveal the mechanisms of sulfur, iron, and chromium stabilization and migration, thereby providing a basis for the harmless disposal of both materials. The product alloys are expected to be used as additives in stainless steel production, while the harmless slag could be safely utilized in the preparation of cementitious auxiliary materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Studies in Recycling and Waste Management)
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17 pages, 2919 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Transformation of Waste Soft Plastics into High-Quality Flexible Sheets
by Md. Shahruk Nur-A-Tomal, Farshid Pahlevani, Saroj Bhattacharyya, Bill Joe, Charlotte Wesley and Veena Sahajwalla
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16462; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316462 - 30 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1252
Abstract
Post-consumer soft plastics often face inadequate management practices, posing threats to both human life and the environment while also leading to the loss of valuable recyclable materials when not recycled. Traditional mechanical recycling methods are unsuitable for waste soft plastics due to their [...] Read more.
Post-consumer soft plastics often face inadequate management practices, posing threats to both human life and the environment while also leading to the loss of valuable recyclable materials when not recycled. Traditional mechanical recycling methods are unsuitable for waste soft plastics due to their thin and flimsy nature. This study presents an effective, user-friendly process for converting waste soft plastics into new products, generating value, and expediting their collection and recycling without the need for pelletization. The outcome of this process was compared with products derived from traditional recycling and commercially available alternatives through various analytical techniques including tensile testing, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, X-ray diffractometry, scanning electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The findings suggest that waste soft plastics can be transformed into flexible sheets without significant alterations to their properties. In particular, the ultimate tensile strength of samples recycled using the developed process in this study and traditional recycling were found to be 25.9 ± 0.4 and 25.2 ± 0.8 MPa, respectively, surpassing commercially available products by nearly 15 MPa. Additionally, a life cycle assessment revealed that producing flexible sheets from waste soft plastics using this innovative approach, rather than virgin polymer, could reduce fossil fuel depletion and global warming by 99.4% and 94.6%, respectively. This signifies the potential of the process to mitigate environmental pollution and produce high-quality products exclusively from 100% waste plastics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Studies in Recycling and Waste Management)
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21 pages, 3253 KiB  
Article
Urbanization and the Emerging Water Crisis: Identifying Water Scarcity and Environmental Risk with Multiple Applications in Urban Agglomerations in Western China
by Caimin Wu, Wei Liu and Hongbing Deng
Sustainability 2023, 15(17), 12977; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151712977 - 28 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1841
Abstract
Urbanization and climate change have combined to exacerbate water shortages in cities worldwide. While rapid urbanization is faced with the risk of water resource shortage, there are few studies on the impact of water resource shortage and the ecological environment in mega-regions. Taking [...] Read more.
Urbanization and climate change have combined to exacerbate water shortages in cities worldwide. While rapid urbanization is faced with the risk of water resource shortage, there are few studies on the impact of water resource shortage and the ecological environment in mega-regions. Taking the three major urban agglomerations in Western China as an example, the spatial–temporal agglomeration pattern and driving force for the risk of water shortage are analyzed. First, a new comprehensive index system for environmental risks of water resources has been established, which can be used to assess spatial changes in water resource shortage risks. Secondly, the relationship between water resource shortage and the urban agglomeration effect is discussed in regards to water resource vulnerability, exposure, and recoverability. The results showed: (1) From 2000 to 2018, the risk of total water shortage in 12 provinces (cities) in Western China decreased from 3.42 to 2.59; the risk of total water shortage in the Guanzhong Plain urban agglomeration dropped the fastest, with an average annual decline rate of 10.57%. (2) Water resource shortage in different cities of the three major urban agglomerations is out of sync in time and space; the risk level of water shortage is high in the north and low in the south. (3) Geological environmental change is an important influencing factor of water resource shortage; the negative impact of industrial water use on the risk of water shortage is the largest, with a contribution of 24.9%. In addition, this paper also puts forward policy suggestions to alleviate the risks of water shortage in the urbanization process in the western region. This research can provide a scientific basis for the sustainable development of urban water resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Studies in Recycling and Waste Management)
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