Material recycling: Presence of chemicals and their influence on the circular economy concept

Kostyantyn Pivnenko, Thomas Fruergaard Astrup

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Linear production concept (extract-convert-use-discard) applied from the times of industrial revolution hascreated a lot of skepticism in the world of limited resources that we live in. As basis to tackle the issue of resource scarcity, circular economy concept has been proposed. The backbone of the concept is the pursuit of sustainability through re-use and recycling of products and materials once they have served their purpose. Once such materials (e.g. paper, plastics) are recycled, chemicals that they contain are reintroduced,spread or even accumulate in the newly manufactured products (Figure 1). As an example, paper and board products alone contain up to 10,000 different chemicals. While only small fraction is being regulated, most of them have not been identified in relevant materials or even lack hazard assessment. The overall goal of the project is to provide a basis for systematically addressing the recyclability of waste materials with respect to the presence of substances. The outcomes of the work will provide crucial basis for future waste characterization activities, environmental and risk assessments of material recycling, as well as provide authorities, scientific community and society with a necessary basis for evaluating potential future limitations to recycling and address means of mitigating accumulation and spreading of chemicals in various materials.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstract Book - DTU Sustain Conference 2014
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventDTU Sustain Conference 2014 - Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
Duration: 17 Dec 201417 Dec 2014


ConferenceDTU Sustain Conference 2014
LocationTechnical University of Denmark
Internet address

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