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Entropie et recyclageQuelques exemples

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Abstract

A limit to sustainable development could be the exhaustion of some natural resources. A counterpoint is represented by a global closed-loop replenishing system, but real cycles cannot be completely closed. Concerning material systems a factor of entropy lies in losses of physical properties. However recycling is a way to reduce or slow up entropy of material systems. To reach very high recycling rates, loop recycling, and not only cascade recycling, is needed. Cases of some materials provide illustration : at first the case of paper (and cardboard) for the year 2000 at an European level (on the basis of data from the European Recovery Paper Council). The case of plastics is surveyed too ; by comparison with paper, their recycling rates are low ; however not only mechanical recycling but also chemical (feedstock) recycling and energy recovery have to be taken into account. Another case is aluminium, with a high recycling rate, and the case of glass has been considered previously (Déchets, Sciences et Techniques n° 13, 1994). For a global view, the logic in terms of material entropy would have to be supplemented by energy and environmental balances and economic and social aspects.

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