About this Research Topic
Current production and consumption patterns motivate and reinforce the “paradox of waste”: resource scarcity coexisting with waste overload. Hence, “value”, generally of non-renewable nature, is extracted in the form of goods/services at different costs to be, ultimately, misused and dissipated as waste. As a result, several planetary boundaries (safe operating space for humanity) have been already crossed, namely climate change, biogeochemical loading, biosphere integrity and land system change. Under this scenario, a transition towards Circular Economy (CE) is essential, requiring scientific and technological progress, especially in key fields such as Resource Recovery from Waste (RRfW). Here, the overall challenge is to be able to answer the question: “How can we accomplish a paradigm shift in the RRfW that is driven by integrated environmental, social and economic benefits rather than by finanical drivers alone?” Academia can and should exert a key role through participatory action research and active knowledge exchange to relevant stakeholders. Towards this goal this Research Topic on RRfW, which aims to bring together research works falling under, yet not limited to, the following topics:
1. Waste streams such as – wastewaters, E-tech, mining, animal, crop, food, urban, nuclear, etc.
2. RRfW technologies – energy from waste (eg. fermentation; anaerobic digestion, thermal processes), biorefinery (eg. added value compounds from wastes), metal recovery (eg., bioleaching, bioelectrochemical systems), materials generation from waste (eg. engineered nanomaterials, alternative fertilisers), etc.
3. “Whole system” design and improvement, especially related to CE – waste management, sustainable production/consumption, business cases, bio-economy, industrial symbiosis, governance, policy-making, etc.
4. Methodological approaches to resource/waste value appraisal – decision support tools, sustainability assessments, multi- and uni-dimensional, metrics development, etc.
5. Waste management/use associated impacts – landfill, application to land, incineration… impacting upon ecosystem services, animal health, human wellbeing, etc.
The aforementioned topics can discuss different scales (lab/glasshouse/field/industrial), geographical location (developing/northern countries), typologies (emergent/traditional pollutants), methodologies (in-situ/ex-situ) and relevant stakeholders (industry, governments, citizens, etc). Both research articles and general review papers are welcomed.
Keywords: Circular economy, Resource Recovery, Waste management, Biogeochemical technologies, Sustainable transition, Whole system design, Bio-economy, Business case, Participatory action research, Complex value
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.