Participatory Situational Analysis Workshop

We would like to invite you to the workshop How can policy and regulation support resource recovery from waste?” on 21st September 2017 in Durham, Kenworthy Hall at St Marys College. This workshop is organised as part of a collaborative mini-project by the Resource Recovery from Waste programme and associated researchers of the AVAnD, B3, MeteoRR and R3AW projects.

This is a one day workshop on Vanadium recovery from steel slag landfills. 

At this workshop, you will gain insight into the Resource Recovery from Waste programme and the technologies developed within our projects. You will get the opportunity to share best practice in policies and regulations that enable resource recovery, while also highlighting any barriers that may exist. We will use the project findings in our work striving for positive change in government policy supporting a circular economy in the UK.

This is one of four workshops across the country. Each workshop strives to answer the question: “If we wanted to realise resource recovery in the UK, how would it be possible within our policy and regulatory context?”. We will ask for your knowledge and experience to carry out a policy analysis, identifying drivers and barriers for resource recovery in general and for specific technologies, and identify which actors could drive required changes in the policy and regulation landscape

Understanding how change in the governance of waste and resource management can be achieved is vital to promote resource recovery and increaser resource efficiency as part of the transition towards the circular economy. Based on this research, we will formulate policy recommendations for governmental bodies throughout the UK.Each workshop strives to answer the question: “If we wanted to realise resource recovery in the UK, how would it be possible within our policy and regulatory context?” We will ask for your knowledge and experience to carry out a policy analysis, identifying drivers and barriers for resource recovery in general and for specific technologies, and identify which actors could drive required changes in the policy and regulation landscape.

This workshop aims to bring together people from academia, government, and industry. Please contact Anne Velenturf A.Velenturf@leeds.ac.uk to register for the workshop. Workshop spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

New paper on Geoforum

geoforum

A new paper from our team at the University of Hull has just been published on the journal  Geoforum. The paper entitled “Resource recovery and remediation of highly alkaline residues: a political industrial ecology approach to building a circular economy” is now online, on open access.

 

We focused on the valorisation of highly alkaline industrial residues, such as steel slag, bauxite processing residue (red mud) and ash from coal combustion, which have been  identified as stocks of potentially valuable metals. Currently, there is demand for metals, such as vanadium and certain rare earth elements, in electronics associated with renewable energy generation and storage.

Current raw material and circular economy policy initiatives in the EU and industrial ecology research all promote valorisation, primarily from an environmental science perspective. This paper begins to address the research gap into the governance of resource recovery from a novel situation, where reuse involves extraction of a component from a bulk residue that itself represents an environmental risk.

Past and current arrangements produced a complex blend of ownership and liabilities

Taking a political industrial ecology approach, we present emerging techniques for recovery and consider their regulatory implications in the light of potential environmental impacts. The paper draws on EU and UK regulatory framework for these residues along with semi-structured interviews with industry and regulatory bodies. A complex picture emerges of entwined ownerships and responsibilities for residues, with past practice and policy having a lasting impact on current possibilities for resource recovery.

 

Come join us in Boston, at the American Association of Geographers’ Annual Conference

Although the development of a circular economy has the potential to alter existing economic trajectories in ways that are more favourable to the environment, the concept has been increasingly subject to critical evaluation. Some commentators see the circular economy as yet another manifestation of ecological modernisation, whereby technological change and appropriate environmental management techniques are deemed sufficient to address global environmental concerns. Thus “little has been said about the socio-political implications and possibilities for shifting current production-consumption-use-waste practices” (Hobson, 2016: 89), nor about the realities of the “messy world” of the circular economy beyond the ‘perfect circles’ of materials and waste envisaged by policy makers (Gregson et al., 2015). As with its predecessor concepts of industrial ecology and industrial symbiosis, the reality of implementation may be a long way from the neat conceptualisations envisaged in the world of policy documents and websites. Moreover, individual product and material cycles cannot be understood in isolation, but need to be viewed as part of a wider system influenced by both the individual elements at work and the context in which they operate. Life cycle thinking and systems thinking can provide a useful entry point into understanding these contexts in order to comprehend the way in which individual elements can impact upon evolution and promotion of a circular economy. The aim of this session is to bring together researchers approaching the concept of a circular economy from a wide range of perspectives in order to further understanding of the barriers to and implications of implementation. We invite a wide range of contributions from those concerned with, and researching into, the circular economy, the green economy, systems analysis, life cycle analysis, degrowth and alternative economy scenarios. We would welcome contributions addressing related issues including, but not limited to, following questions:

  • What are the barriers to developing a circular economy beyond the dominant focus on the technological aspects of resource and material flow management? In particular, what are the institutional and regulatory barriers to change?
  • What are the alternatives to a circular economy policy that focuses on improving technical efficiency without questioning current business and economic growth models?  Are there alternative circular economy practices that align with other conceptualisations of production and growth, such as degrowth?
  • What shifts in routines and practices are required to develop a circular economy and how can these be conceptualised? For example, how do various business and policy actors change their routines? Can we see the development of ‘communities of practice’ around circular economy initiatives?
  • What are the broader socio-political implications of a circular economy agenda? Which forms of governance can encourage or facilitate the circular economy? What is the role of individuals and regulatory structures?
  • The circular economy envisages the world as a set of interwoven systems, but how does a systems approach alter our perspective view of the economy and how do changes in one part of the system impact upon other areas?
  • How can methodologies such as life cycle sustainability assessment be used most effectively to communicate the benefits and impacts of the circular economy to all sectors of society including decision and policy makers?

Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words for consideration for inclusion in the session by October 7th via email to Helen Baxter (helen.baxter@hull.ac.uk), David Gibbs (d.c.gibbs@hull.ac.uk) or Pauline Deutz (p.deutz@hull.ac.uk). Participants will be notified by October 17th if their paper has been accepted and will then need to register for the conference and provide their PIN to the organisers by October 24th in order to be included in the panel.

Details about the AAG 2017 Conference and how to register/submit an abstract are available here.

 

Written by Prof. David Gibbs, Dr Pauline Deutz and Dr Helen Baxter, University of Hull.

Project meeting

IMG_8167

 

Today, at the University of Hull, we had our annual meeting to present and discuss project updates. The agenda covered the progress to date, key achievements, programme-level activity (Will Mayes), as well as all the five project work packages updates and plans:

    1. WP1 – Biogeochemical processes controlling metal(loid) release from
      alkaline residues (Andy Hobson, Ian Burke / Doug Stewart)
    2. WP2 – Remediation and recovery: demonstration of metal(loid) recovery and WP3 – Upscaling release and recovery under environmental conditions (Helena Gomes, Mike Rogerson, Will Mayes)
    3. WP4 – Systems analysis: policy frameworks, stakeholder engagement and LCA (Pauline Deutz, Helen Baxter, Amanda Gregory, Jonathan Atkins)
    4. WP5 – Technology transfer – feasibility studies on other alkaline wastes (Andy Bray, Will Mayes)
    5. Mobile laboratory (Mike Rogerson)

Anne Velenturf, Programme Coordinator of the RRfW, was also present.