Resource recovery and remediation of highly alkaline residues: A political-industrial ecology approach to building a circular economy

Deutz, P., Baxter, H. , Gibbs, D., Mayes, W. M. and Gomes, H. I. (2017) Resource recovery and remediation of highly alkaline residues: A political-industrial ecology approach to building a circular economy. Geoforum, 85, pp. 336-344. (doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2017.03.021)

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Highly alkaline industrial residues (e.g., steel slag, bauxite processing residue (red mud) and ash from coal combustion) have been identified as stocks of potentially valuable metals. Technological change has created 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 resource recovery from residues, with research so far primarily from an environmental science perspective. This paper begins to address the deficit of research into the governance of resource recovery from a novel situation where re-use involves extraction of a component from a bulk residue that itself represents a risk to the environment. Taking a political industrial ecology approach, we briefly 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.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was funded by the United Kingdom Natural Environment Research Council, United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council and the United Kingdom Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs under grants NE/K015648/1 and NE/L014211/ 1.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Baxter, Dr Helen
Authors: Deutz, P., Baxter, H., Gibbs, D., Mayes, W. M., and Gomes, H. I.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Geoforum
ISSN (Online):1872-9398
Published Online:08 April 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Geoforum 85: 336-344
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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