Strategies for Considering Environmental Justice in the Early-Stage Development of Circular Economy Technologies

Taylor Uekert, Julien Walzberg, Hope Wikoff, Meredith Doyle, Alberta Carpenter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The circular economy could transform how industry and society approach resources and waste, resulting in significant environmental justice (EJ) implications. However, there are few resources for analyzing the EJ impacts of new circular economy technologies before they are deployed. This work presents an EJ framework tailored for early stage circular economy technologies and showcases its capabilities through a case study on enzymatic plastic recycling. By providing concise, actionable, and accessible guidelines based on technology readiness levels and a series of 20 questions, the framework empowers both experts and nonexperts to evaluate the justice implications of circular economy solutions. Preliminary user feedback highlights the approachability of the framework and its corresponding interactive worksheet, as well as their potential to stimulate innovative thinking toward a more just and sustainable future.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)8307-8312
Number of pages6
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Volume12
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-88788

Keywords

  • circular economy
  • environmental justice
  • sustainability

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