The increase of waste presents a challenge for organizations and societies pursuing sustainable development. In this context, recycling is widely recognized for being a friendly strategy to the environment and the proper approach to effectively manage waste and minimize the negative impact on the environment and the economy. However, since the available recycling technology requires both raw materials and energy, it ultimately contributes to the depletion of natural resources. Therefore, it is vital to assess the energy efficiency of recycling processes to determine their real benefit. The scientific literature suggests a series of approaches, requirements and practices, which may be, at first sight, confusing. The present study focuses on efficiency evaluation of recycling processes by means of exergetic analyses. It performs a systematic review, based on nine significant factors in recycling processes, of the relevant literature concerning the evaluation of recycling processes through the exergetic approach. The review makes two important contributions. First, it presents an approach for assessing such diverse literature by means of a single structure. In addition, it allows the identification of improvement opportunities and reveals future research opportunities.
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