One of the main goals of the MonGOS is to increase awareness on the importance of water and sewage management in the implementation of the circular economy model in the European Union. To realize this the MonGOS Collaborators actively participate in various conferences and seminars to give oral and poster presentations of their projects as well as publish the results of their research results. Moreover, MonGOS Collaborators also share their research experiences through different scientific and educational articles.

MonGOS publication: Importance of Sustainable Mineral Resource Management in Implementing the Circular Economy (CE) Model and the European Green Deal Strategy

Abstract: The European Green Deal is the new strategy for economic growth adopted by the European Commission (EC) in late 2019. One of the most important tasks in the realisation of this strategy is the mobilisation of the industry for a clean and circular economy (CE). Currently, the European Union (EU) is in the process of transformation towards a CE model, which was announced in 2014. The CE assumes a transition from a linear model based on take–make–dispose to a circular model, in which waste, if it arises, becomes a valuable resource. At the same time, it is recommended to use raw materials (RMs) more efficiently and to recycle them. The EC underlines that both changes in the management of mineral resources in individual member states and their effects should be monitored. Therefore, in 2018, the EC pointed out issues related to RM management as important elements of the monitoring framework in transformation process towards CE. The paper presents strategic directions aimed at sustainable and circular RM management in the EU, with a strong emphasis on the key elements of sustainable development—environmental, economic and social. Moreover, the importance of mineral resources management in the EC in the context of transformation towards the European Green Deal and CE is presented, and the results of selected CE indicators related to the RMs, and indicators that present sustainable RMs management are discussed. The core of the paper is presentation of a set of recommended actions which should be taken in coming years with strong emphasis on the implementation of the sustainable development (SD) principles. RM management faces a number of challenges, primarily in achieving increased levels of critical raw materials (CRMs) recycling, as well as the greater involvement of stakeholders themselves and awareness raising in the field of SD and CE among enterprises operating in the RMs sector. Currently, all member states are working together to accelerate the transformation process in the area of CE and the European Green Deal, e.g., by implementing national CE programs. A great opportunity to accelerate the transformation process is the new financial perspective for projects under the balanced and circular management of RMs—Horizon Europe, which plans to finance the new projects on RMs management and recycling

Reference: Smol, M., Marcinek, P., Duda, J., & Szołdrowska, D. (2020). Importance of Sustainable Mineral Resource Management in Implementing the Circular Economy (CE) Model and the European Green Deal Strategy. Resources, 9(5), 55.

Link to article: https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9276/9/5/55

MonGOS publication: Transformation towards Circular Economy (CE) in Municipal Waste Management System: Model Solutions for Poland

Abstract: Municipal waste management has been an area of special interest for the European Commission (EC) for many years, especially in the transformation process towards a circular economy (CE), which is a priority of the European Union’s (EU’s) economic policy. This paper presents the overview of the Polish waste management system (WMS) and the CE-related tasks indicated in the Polish CE Roadmap. Despite the fact that Poland is one of the countries that generates the least waste per capita (329 kg in 2018) in the EU (489 kg), it still has problems with adapting the levels of municipal waste recycling to European requirements (34.3% in 2018, EU average 47%), which result from the lack of sufficient infrastructure for waste management and the insufficiently developed public awareness and behaviors. The current paper presents an inventory of the recommended actions, which support transformation towards CE in municipal waste management. These actions have been grouped into six core principles of circularity, indicated in the ReSOLVE framework: Regenerate, Share, Optimize, Loop, Virtualize, and Exchange. In each of presented areas, recommended tasks and actions were identified that should be taken by governments and residents themselves, such as landfill remediation, use of selected municipal waste fractions for economic purposes, sharing products with co-users, waste recovery, remanufacturing products or components, virtual solutions in everyday life to reduce the amount of generated waste, or replacement of household appliances by items with a higher energy class. An implementation of specific actions indicated in the paper could positively influence transformation towards CE in Poland. Because the presented examples of actions are model solutions, they can also be used in other countries and regions.

Reference: Smol, M., Duda, J., Czaplicka-Kotas, A., & Szołdrowska, D. (2020). Transformation towards Circular Economy (CE) in Municipal Waste Management System: Model Solutions for Poland. Sustainability, 12(11), 4561.

Link to article: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/11/4561

MonGOS publication: Circular economy model framework in the European water and wastewater sector

Abstract: One of the key elements in the transformation towards a circular economy (CE) is providing more sustainable practices for resources and waste management. Improvement actions focused on transformation towards a CE should be targeted at all groups of materials and waste. As water is essential for human survival and well-being and plays a significant role in sustainable development (SD), the actions related to the reuse of water and the recovery of raw materials from wastewater and other water-based waste should be taken. The paper presents a proposition for a new CE model framework in the water and wastewater sector, which includes the six following actions: reduction—prevent wastewater generation in the first place by the reduction of water usage and pollution reduction at source; reclamation (removal)—an application of effective technologies for the removal of pollutants from water and wastewater; reuse—reuse of wastewater as an alternative source of water supply (non-potable usage), recycling—recovery of water from wastewater for potable usage; recovery—recovery of resources such as nutrients and energy from water-based waste, and rethink—rethinking how to use resources to create a sustainable economy, which is `free` of waste and emissions. The novelty of the proposed CE model framework is that it presents possible ways of implementing CE principles in the water and wastewater sector, with a strong emphasis not only technological but also organisational and societal changes. Application of the proposed model may help to further transform the European economy to the CE model. Moreover, the indicated model can be significant tool supporting an assessment of local or regional progress towards CE in the water and wastewater sector and further environmental management and planning.

Reference: Smol, M., Adam, C., & Preisner, M. (2020). Circular economy model framework in the European water and wastewater sector. Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management, 1-16.

Link to article: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10163-019-00960-z

MonGOS publication: Mitigation of eutrophication caused by wastewater discharge: A simulation-based approach

Abstract: Mitigation of eutrophication, intensified by excessive nutrient load discharge in wastewaters regulated by restrictive legal requirements, remains one of today’s most important global problems. Despite implementation of the Water Framework Directive, the Urban Wastewater Directive and the HELCOM recommendations, the actual condition of surface water is still not satisfactory. In response to the above, the study presents an alternative approach for surface water protection against eutrophication based on the selection of appropriate nutrient removal technologies. An activated sludge model simulation was used to enable the identification of environmentally justified nutrient removal systems with lowest eutrophication potential of treated wastewater conditioned by bioavailable nutrient forms content. Based on the outcome of the study, the 3-stage Bardenpho system was identified as the most efficient for bioavailable phosphorus removal, while the Johannesburg system proved to have the highest efficiency for bioavailable nitrogen removal. The proposed eutrophication mitigation approach underlines the need for a reconsideration of current legal regulations which ignore nutrient bioavailability and key eutrophication limiting factors.

Reference: Preisner, M., Neverova-Dziopak, E., & Kowalewski, Z. (2020). Mitigation of eutrophication caused by wastewater discharge: A simulation-based approach. Ambio. doi: 10.1007/s13280-020-01346-4

Link to article: https:// link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s13280-020-01346-4.pdf

MonGOS publication: Analysis of eutrophication potential of municipal wastewater

Abstract: One of the main factors of the increased eutrophication level of surface waters is the high anthropogenic loads of biogenic substances discharged into water bodies. Municipal wastewaters, containing large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus play one of the key roles in the acceleration of eutrophication intensity. The main direction in the prevention of eutrophication caused by wastewater discharge has become the reduction of nutrient loads introduced to wastewater receivers in accordance with strict legal requirements achievable only in advanced technologies. The treated wastewater quality standards are actually developed for total nitrogen and total phosphorus content, disregarding the fact that eutrophication potential of treated wastewater is determined by the content of non-organic nutrient forms directly bioavailable for water vegetation. That is why the currently used energy-consuming and expensive technologies do not always guarantee effective protection against eutrophication and its consequences. The goal of the study was to analyze the most widely used wastewater treatment technologies for enhanced biological nutrients removal in treated wastewater eutrophication potential. For this purpose, an analysis of the operation of 18 wastewater treatment plants based on different technologies in Finland, Canada, Poland, Russia and the United States was realized. The analysis concluded that the eutrophication potential of treated wastewater to a large extent is conditioned by the applied technology. The results of the research concluded that the eutrophication potential can serve an important criterion for decision-making regarding the proper selection of wastewater treatment technologies aimed at eutrophication mitigation.

Reference: Preisner, M., Neverova-Dziopak, E., & Kowalewski, Z. (2020). Analysis of eutrophication potential of municipal wastewater. Water Science and Technology. doi: 10.2166/wst.2020.254

Link to article: https://iwaponline.com/wst/article/doi/10.2166/wst.2020.254/74435/Analysis-of-eutrophication-potential-of-municipal