Call for Papers on Special Issue: Sustainability of circular-chemistry based sectors
• 大类 : 环境科学与生态学 - 1区
• 小类 : 工程：环境 - 2区
• 小类 : 环境科学 - 2区
Huge challenges are involved in the extraction and transformation of raw materials into finished products, and the unintended consequences of the associated activities are increasingly placing great demand and additional responsibilities on ways for decisions to be made in industries (Gbededo et al., 2018). Previously published literature of the sector has documented that industrial activities are contributing alarming degradation to the planet’s natural resources and are generating harmful effect at the societal level (Gbededo et al., 2018).
In this context, chemistry-based sectors are responsible for a set of major environmental impacts, which are highly dependent upon: the amount of chemicals released; as well as the types and the amounts utilised. Those sectors include paper, textile and leather industry, printing and dyeing, agriculture and food processing, medicine and health care product manufacturing, and so many others.Chemistry is everywhere!From now on in this VSI announcement, the ensemble of all sectors that are founded upon chemical processes and products will be named as ‘chemistry sector’or, alternatively, ‘chemical sector’.
Some chemicals can be harmful if released to the environment, even when there is not an immediate and visible impact, whilst some others are of concern because they can work their way into the food chain and accumulate and/or persist in the environment for many years (Chemical Substances, 2011). In parallel, the economy of the last 150 years is based upon a one-way track model, according to which resources were extracted for production and consumption, and no plans were made for valuing wastes through their conversion into value-added products and/or energies (Venkata Mohan et al., 2016; Ingrao et al., 2018; Keijer et al., 2019). Such an economy system is wasteful in its model of value creation such as the current material recycling and waste-based energy recovery captures, in Europe, where only 5% of the original raw material value is recovered (Ingrao et al., 2018). Hence, linear-route based economies can be considered as totally unsustainable (Korhonen et al., 2018), both economically, environmentally, and socially. They are cause of several impending global crises such as climate change, diminished biodiversity, as well as food, water and energy shortages (Keijer et al., 2019).
Hence, the rationale for transitioning to a circular model of the economy is clear and well documented in the literature. In addition, the size of the economic opportunity as well as the wide range of positive impacts is gradually emerging both from analytical perspectives and through the compelling case studies provided by early adopters and academia worldwide (Ingrao et al., 2018). Only recently concrete efforts have emerged as to be devoted to shifting the policy framework from an eco-destructive and resource-exhausting society to a resource-conservation based and sustainability-sound one (Venkata Mohan et al., 2016). Economy and sustainability are strongly interconnected (Arbolino et al., 2018; Ingrao et al., 2018), and the awareness that resources currently exploited are finite and the environmental tolerance towards the chemical industry is limited has recorded a tremendous growth over the course of the last decades (Keijer et al., 2019).
In this context, Circular Economy (CE) is increasingly attracting interest and attention from the science and policy community worldwide as one restorative and regenerative model of the economy aimed at helping maintaining products, components and materials at their highest level of utility and value (Ingrao et al., 2018; Keijer et al., 2019), and the chemical science can play a crucial role in this direction (Keijer et al., 2019). Chemists understand the multiple key roles that they have in the design and development of indispensable materials and technologies, but also simultaneously recognise the potentially detrimental effects that this may have on their practice. Therefore, they are becoming increasingly aware that each step of the way must be designed or reassessed with the aim of pursuing sustainability and related goals (Keijer et al., 2019).
Therefore, where the scope of sustainability is expanded to the life cycles of chemical products as utilised and processed in the chemistry sector, a circular-model based chemistry is urgently needed to replace today’s linear ‘take–make–dispose’ approach with circular processes. In this way, there would be optimisation of resource efficiency across chemical value chains and a close-loop, waste-free chemical industry would be enabled (Keijer et al., 2019).
Life cycle thinking and circularity will contribute reinvent and innovate the chemistry sector, as they represent the basic principles for developing innovative chemical products made out of waste and/or waste-derived materials (Whitesides, 2015; Keijer et al., 2019).
In this context, this Virtual Special Issue (VSI) was conceived to pose important questions for authors to address in their studies as related to all chemistry-pertaining sectors:
How can we help to develop and implement synergies among the chemistry sector and CE in the context of ethical sustainable business development?
How can implementation of CE in the chemistry sector help to change societal production and consumption within the context of climate change, resource depletion and increasing emissions?
What assessment methods are available and which new ones are required to understand and link the chemistry sector with CE in regard to the sustainability of business and societies?
What are the potential barriers and benefits of operating a CE for helping the chemistry sector, to co-work and promote the transition to fair, sustainable and functional societies?
What is the current status of CE in such sectors and what experiences can we learn in improving the sustainability sound of the sector?
How to measure sustainability derived from the implementation of CE in the chemical sector using social, economic, environmental, and ecological indicators?
What policies and approaches should be taken to promote the CE within the chemical sector?
In view of these wide-ranging issues, the potential subjects for the VSI include (but are not limited to):
CE driven technological applications;
Developing CE structures through the implementation of cleaner production practices;
Developing innovative indicators for measuring effectivity of introducing CE in the chemical sector;
Developing original organisational models and visions for supporting implementation of CE in the context of a more sustainable chemical industry;
Drivers and challenges to introducing CE built upon sustainable partnerships.