The contemporary Oceania zinc cycle: one-year stocks and flows
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The material flow approach provides a framework from which to address resource management and estimate gross environmental impacts, both spatially and temporally. In this article, the major flows of zinc in Oceania over its entire life-cycle are examined; these include production (mining, milling, and refining), fabrication and manufacturing of semi- and finished products, use, and the waste management system. Comprehensive mass balances were applied to determine the zinc flows, including the quantities of zinc entering stocks in waste and in-use reservoirs. The Oceania cycle shows that substantial amounts of zinc (about 1120 Gg/year) are mined on the continent. The total flow of zinc in finished products entering the use stage is about 8.6 kg/(capita.year), substantially exceeding the zinc flow in discarded products. This difference, about 7.2 kg Zn/(capita.year) on average, is added to the in-use reservoir, largely for galvanizing applications in domestic construction and transportation. Less than 60% of all discarded zinc entering the waste management system is recycled. Much of the remaining discarded zinc is diluted into other waste streams, where recovery and recycling are probably not economically feasible.
Key wordsSubstance flow analysis Resource management Zinc Stocks and flows Systems analysis Oceania
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