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Resources, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 2014), Pages 340-487

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Research

Open AccessArticle The Status of Industrial Ecology in Australia: Barriers and Enablers
Resources 2014, 3(2), 340-361; doi:10.3390/resources3020340
Received: 9 December 2013 / Revised: 12 February 2014 / Accepted: 12 March 2014 / Published: 25 March 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (268 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Drawing on current international industrial ecology thinking and experiences with Australian initiatives, this article critically overviews the current status of industrial ecology in Australia and examines the barriers and potential strategies to realise greater uptake and application of the concept. The analysis is
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Drawing on current international industrial ecology thinking and experiences with Australian initiatives, this article critically overviews the current status of industrial ecology in Australia and examines the barriers and potential strategies to realise greater uptake and application of the concept. The analysis is conducted across three categories: heavy industrial areas (including Kwinana and Gladstone), mixed industrial parks (Wagga Wagga and Port Melbourne), and waste exchange networks, and identifies the past and future significance of seven different types of barriers—regulation, information, community, economic, technical, cooperation and trust, commitment to sustainable development—for each of the three categories. The outcomes from this analysis highlight that regulation, information, and economic barriers for heavy industrial area and mixed industrial parks, and economic and technical barriers for waste exchange networks are the current and future focus for industrial ecology applications in Australia. These findings appear to be consistent with recently published frameworks and learnings. The authors propose key questions that could enhance greater adoption of industrial ecology applications in Australia and acknowledge that international research and experiences, while partly providing answers to these questions, need to be adapted and refined for the Australian context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Strengthening Industrial Ecology’s Links with Business Studies: Insights and Potential Contributions from the Innovation and Business Models Literature
Resources 2014, 3(2), 362-382; doi:10.3390/resources3020362
Received: 12 December 2013 / Revised: 12 March 2014 / Accepted: 12 March 2014 / Published: 25 March 2014
PDF Full-text (283 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The declining availability of natural resources and the environmental impacts of continued extraction of primary resources for production activities have forced greater focus on waste streams and recycling activities. Industrial ecology as a field of practice and theory has been closely related to
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The declining availability of natural resources and the environmental impacts of continued extraction of primary resources for production activities have forced greater focus on waste streams and recycling activities. Industrial ecology as a field of practice and theory has been closely related to sustainability issues, yet despite the development of much theory and specific tools and methodologies, the link between natural, industrial and economic systems is not convincing. Not only that, the need for delivering sustainable production and consumption practices is increasing, which is demanding new solutions to existing problems, particularly around the degree of novelty. The interaction of industrial ecology with business studies and industrial investment decision-making remains under-developed, and this is likely impacting on the adoption of more sustainable and resource-efficient practices. As such, this paper uses a constructive approach and explores how two areas of the literature can support the development of the industrial ecology field into strategic business practice: firstly, the innovation literature, particularly the emerging work on open innovation and sustainable innovation as a model to understand radical innovation processes and the creation and maintenance of networked systems of firms; secondly, the closely related area of business model (BM) innovation, specifically the emerging typologies of sustainable BMs and how these typologies can be developed and used as a route to positioning recycling activities at the strategic management level of the firm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessCommunication Mounting Debt in a World in Overshoot: An Analysis of the Link between the Mediterranean Region’s Economic and Ecological Crises
Resources 2014, 3(2), 383-394; doi:10.3390/resources3020383
Received: 22 January 2014 / Revised: 27 February 2014 / Accepted: 17 March 2014 / Published: 28 March 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (803 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
During the period of 1961–2008, demand for renewable resources and ecological services (as measured through the Ecological Footprint methodology) in the Mediterranean region grew by 52% (from 2.06 to 3.12 global hectares per capita), while availability of such resources and services (or biocapacity
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During the period of 1961–2008, demand for renewable resources and ecological services (as measured through the Ecological Footprint methodology) in the Mediterranean region grew by 52% (from 2.06 to 3.12 global hectares per capita), while availability of such resources and services (or biocapacity (BC)) decreased by 16% (from 1.49 to 1.26 global hectares per capita). As all economic activities ultimately depend on ecological assets—such as productive land and marine areas, and the services and resources they produce—this paper presents a reflection on the economic implications of such resource and service overconsumption in the Mediterranean region. Our conclusion is that, in a world characterized by the existence of biophysical limits, risks may exist for Mediterranean economies due to the concurrence of: (1) resource scarcity; (2) increasing resource prices; and (3) challenging national economic situations. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Analysis of Regulatory Strategies for Recycling and Re-Use of Metals in Australia
Resources 2014, 3(2), 395-415; doi:10.3390/resources3020395
Received: 15 January 2014 / Revised: 19 March 2014 / Accepted: 1 April 2014 / Published: 14 April 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (284 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article considers regulatory strategies that promote more efficient use of material inputs within the Australian economy, with particular focus on recycling and recovery of metals, drawing upon the concept of a “circular economy”. It briefly reviews the nature of regulation and trends
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This article considers regulatory strategies that promote more efficient use of material inputs within the Australian economy, with particular focus on recycling and recovery of metals, drawing upon the concept of a “circular economy”. It briefly reviews the nature of regulation and trends in regulatory strategies within changing policy contexts, and then examines the regulatory framework applicable to the various phases in the life cycle of metals, ranging from extraction of minerals to processing and assimilation of metals into finished products, through to eventual disposal of products as waste. Discussion focuses upon the regulatory strategies applied in each phase and the changing roles of government and business operators within global distribution networks. It is concluded that the prevailing political agenda favoring deregulation and reduced taxation may be a major barrier to development of new styles of regulation and more effective use of taxation powers that is needed to support a more circular economy in metals. The implication for future research is the need to substantiate the outcomes of reflexive regulatory strategies with well-designed empirical studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Understanding the Dynamic Character of Value in Recycling Metals from Australia
Resources 2014, 3(2), 416-431; doi:10.3390/resources3020416
Received: 9 December 2013 / Revised: 6 March 2014 / Accepted: 20 March 2014 / Published: 15 April 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (324 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Industrial ecology (IE) argues the need for an efficient materials economy based on recycling where environmental degradation associated with inputs of new materials and outputs of waste or pollution is minimal. There is often an assumption that efficiency in the use of materials
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Industrial ecology (IE) argues the need for an efficient materials economy based on recycling where environmental degradation associated with inputs of new materials and outputs of waste or pollution is minimal. There is often an assumption that efficiency in the use of materials equates to economic efficiency; however, this is not necessarily the case. Central to this tension between engineering and economic approaches to materials efficiency are different conceptual framings of value. Because a large scale shift towards valuing waste materials as future resources involves changes to existing practices of a great many actors and organizations, ranging from consumers and household disposal practices, through to government agencies and multi-national corporations, it cannot be assumed that all operate with similar conceptions of value. This paper reviews current understandings of value in IE and argues that they need to be expanded to accommodate approaches to valuing used goods and materials that manifest across different spatial scales, from household disposal practices to national policy to global production networks (GPNs). The paper focuses, in particular, on understandings of value relevant to metals recycling in Australia and contrast material flow models from IE with other models of material flows and transformations available in the social sciences, including anthropological analysis of the movement of objects through different regimes of value within society and analysis in economic geography that highlights spatial and structural dimensions influential in commodity chains and networks for used products and materials. It concludes by reflecting on the significance of the dynamic and creative tensions inherent in the production of value for recycled metals from Australia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Circular Economy: Questions for Responsible Minerals, Additive Manufacturing and Recycling of Metals
Resources 2014, 3(2), 432-453; doi:10.3390/resources3020432
Received: 10 December 2013 / Revised: 4 March 2014 / Accepted: 21 March 2014 / Published: 6 May 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (277 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept of the circular economy proposes new patterns of production, consumption and use, based on circular flows of resources. Under a scenario where there is a global shift towards the circular economy, this paper discusses the advent of two parallel and yet-to-be-connected
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The concept of the circular economy proposes new patterns of production, consumption and use, based on circular flows of resources. Under a scenario where there is a global shift towards the circular economy, this paper discusses the advent of two parallel and yet-to-be-connected trends for Australia, namely: (i) responsible minerals supply chains and (ii) additive manufacturing, also known as 3D production systems. Acknowledging the current context for waste management, the paper explores future interlinked questions which arise in the circular economy for responsible supply chains, additive manufacturing, and metals recycling. For example, where do mined and recycled resources fit in responsible supply chains as inputs to responsible production? What is required to ensure 3D production systems are resource efficient? How could more distributed models of production, enabled by additive manufacturing, change the geographical scale at which it is economic or desirable to close the loop? Examples are given to highlight the need for an integrated research agenda to address these questions and to foster Australian opportunities in the circular economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of North Sea Offshore Wind Power Variability
Resources 2014, 3(2), 454-470; doi:10.3390/resources3020454
Received: 2 December 2013 / Revised: 6 April 2014 / Accepted: 5 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (758 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper evaluates, for a 2030 scenario, the impact on onshore power systems in terms of the variability of the power generated by 81 GW of offshore wind farms installed in the North Sea. Meso-scale reanalysis data are used as input for computing
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This paper evaluates, for a 2030 scenario, the impact on onshore power systems in terms of the variability of the power generated by 81 GW of offshore wind farms installed in the North Sea. Meso-scale reanalysis data are used as input for computing the hourly power production for offshore wind farms, and this total production is analyzed to identify the largest aggregated hourly power variations. Based on publicly available information, a simplified representation of the coastal power grid is built for the countries bordering the North Sea. Wind farms less than 60 km from shore are connected radially to the mainland, while the rest are connected to a hypothetical offshore HVDC (High-Voltage Direct Current) power grid, designed such that wind curtailment does not exceed 1% of production. Loads and conventional power plants by technology and associated cost curves are computed for the various national power systems, based on 2030 projections. Using the MATLAB-based MATPOWER toolbox, the hourly optimal power flow for this regional hybrid AC/DC grid is computed for high, low and medium years from the meso-scale database. The largest net load variations are evaluated per market area and related to the extra load-following reserves that may be needed from conventional generators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial and Temporal Variation of the Wind Resource)
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Open AccessArticle Impacts of Public-Private Partnership on Local Livelihoods and Natural Resource Dynamics: Perceptions from Eastern Zambia
Resources 2014, 3(2), 471-487; doi:10.3390/resources3020471
Received: 22 February 2014 / Revised: 16 May 2014 / Accepted: 3 June 2014 / Published: 13 June 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (645 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study evaluated the long-term implications of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) on livelihoods and natural resource (NR) dynamics under a market-oriented approach to conservation. Drawing examples from the Luangwa Valley in eastern Zambia, the study sought to answer questions on two closely interrelated
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This study evaluated the long-term implications of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) on livelihoods and natural resource (NR) dynamics under a market-oriented approach to conservation. Drawing examples from the Luangwa Valley in eastern Zambia, the study sought to answer questions on two closely interrelated aspects. These included the contribution of PPP to sustainable livelihoods in and around Protected Areas (PAs) and its impacts on natural resources in Game Management Areas (GMAs). Quantitative data were collected from PPP participating and non-PPP households using standardized structured interviews, while qualitative data were obtained from three chiefdoms using semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. Taking the case of Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) in eastern Zambia, results of this study showed that PPP contributed to sustainable livelihoods and overall natural resources management through varied ways. These include promotion of conservation farming, agroforestry, poacher transformation (individuals who have given up poaching due to PPP interventions) and provision of markets for the produce of participating households. Further, impacts of PPP on soil fertility, crop, and honey yields were statistically significant (p ˂ 0.05). A combination of increased crop productivity and household incomes has seen a 40-fold increase in poacher transformation. The results of this study suggest that PPPs, if well-structured, have the potential to address both livelihoods and enterprise needs with an ultimate benefit of promoting both sustainable livelihoods and natural resources management around PAs in tropical Africa. Full article

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