Inderscience Publishers

Industrial ecology for leverage to let loose less cadmium

Comprehending how humans let toxic cadmium (Cd) loose in their environment demands analysing zinc (Zn) production, the source of most mined Cd. Analysis of unaccounted Cd with the ImPACT identity as a product of population, affluence, intensity of Zn use, and the used fraction of Cd in Zn ore shows that the used fraction exerted the most leverage. A simulation of emission from Zn mining and processing, refinement of Cd and manufacture of its products, and their use, discard, and recycling quantifies opportunities for less unaccounted Cd. Although acting indirectly, recycling Zn has considerable leverage for loosing less Cd into our environment. Making more Cd products last longer and containing exhausted products also helps. Although cutting Cd use and raising recycling lower emission, they increase the unaccounted Cd. This application of industrial ecology supports encompassing a spectrum of impacts lest concentrating on one merely displace harm to another impact.

Keywords: cadmium reduction, Cd, zinc emissions, Zn, industrial ecology, materials flow analysis, ImPACT identity, simulation, zinc recycling, environmental pollution

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