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The University of Southampton

ENVS3014 Sustainable Resource Management

Module Overview

If we are to address society’s waste problem we need to fully understand the environmental, occupational, public health, technical, fiscal, social, cultural, demographic and political influences on waste collection, reuse, recycling, minimisation and prevention. In this module, we will discuss all of these issues and draw upon real case studies to illustrate and illuminate the future challenges. Students will use their knowledge and skills to complete assignments that will test the learning outcomes for the module. This module does not have any pre-requisites. Students will be required to perform mathematical activities.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The need for both a multi-disciplinary and an interdisciplinary approach in advancing knowledge and understanding of Earth systems, drawing, as appropriate, from the natural and the social sciences
  • The processes which shape the natural world at different temporal and spatial scales and their influence on and by human activities
  • The terminology, nomenclature and classification systems used in environmental science
  • Methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing environmental science information with a critical understanding of the appropriate contexts for their use
  • Issues concerning the availability and sustainability of resources, for example, the different value sets relating to the Earth's resources as commodities and/or heritage
  • The contribution of environmental science to debate on environmental issues and how knowledge of these forms the basis for informed concern about the Earth and its people
  • The contribution of environmental science to the development of knowledge of the world we live in
  • The applicability of environmental science to the world of work
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles
  • Analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research
  • Collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses
  • Applying knowledge and understanding to complex and multidimensional problems in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
  • Recognising the moral and ethical issues of investigations and appreciating the need for professional codes of conduct
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (eg textual, numerical, verbal, graphical)
  • Developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills)
  • Identifying and working towards targets for personal, academic and career development
  • Developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work
  • Communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical forms
  • Appreciating issues of sample selection, accuracy, precision and uncertainty during collection, recording and analysis of data in the field and laboratory
  • Preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages including geographic information systems
  • Solving numerical problems using computer and non-computer-based techniques
  • Using the internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information
  • Identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles
  • Recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members
  • Evaluating performance as an individual and a team member
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Planning, conducting, and reporting on environmental investigations, including the use of secondary data
  • Collecting, recording and analysing data using appropriate techniques in the field and laboratory
  • Undertaking field and laboratory investigations in a responsible and safe manner, paying due attention to risk assessment, rights of access, relevant health and safety regulations, and sensitivity to the impact of investigations on the environment and stakeholders
  • Referencing work in an appropriate manner


The module comprises of a course of lectures, seminars, workshops, site visits and a waste audit that provide a scientific understanding of sustainable resource management. A broad range of topics is covered, including: - Introductory material, including: waste make up; introduction to waste classification systems; relevant legislation; definitions of waste; guidance for the disposal of different wastes; role of WDAs and WCAs; local, regional and national variations and trends; performance indicators; possible future issues. - Background to waste prevention, minimisation, re-use and recycling – driving forces, relevant legislation and national strategy. - Environmental, occupational and public health. - Technical, fiscal, social, cultural, demographic and political influences on waste collection, reuse, recycling, minimisation and prevention. - A range of approaches to waste collection, reuse, recycling, minimisation and prevention adopted by various agencies, including waste collection authorities, industrial/commercial organisations and the social and community sectors. - Systems and methods for waste collection, reuse, recycling, minimisation and prevention from municipal, industrial, commercial and other sources, and the barriers to their full exploitation and their limitations. - Legislative drivers, policy background and regulatory requirements relevant to waste collection, reuse, recycling, minimisation and prevention. - Practical and logistical problems and solutions to waste collection, reuse, recycling, minimisation and prevention for particular waste groups, including the development of markets and the use of tools, models, scenarios and smart systems/technologies. - Materials and markets for recycling, focusing on particular waste groups e.g. aluminium, paper, construction and demolition waste, textiles, bulky goods, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), vehicles (End of Life Vehicles), plastics, food waste. - The circular economy and approaches to so-called zero waste. - Waste auditing. Workshops and seminars will allow topics to be explored in depth via case studies as well as giving students practice at solving pollution calculations and problems. Two site visits and a waste audit are key parts of the syllabus.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be delivered by lectures, interactive workshops and two field-trips. The sessions will be delivered by the module leader and another professional academic. Learning activities include: - Attendance at lecture and workshop sessions - Field trips to waste management facilities - Self-directed learning - directed and additional reading and exercises accessed via Blackboard - Private study - research for the module assignments

Completion of assessment task30
Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Practical classes and workshops8
Wider reading or practice25
External visits6
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

Referral Method - Students will have 2 weeks to complete and submit the examination. A minimum mark of 50% overall on the open book examination is required for the student to pass the referral assessment.


MethodPercentage contribution
Report 50%
Take-away exam 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Travel Costs for placements

You will need to provide and wear your own suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source and costs will vary depending on your preference. You will be expected to purchase your own lunch and any additional refreshments. (clothing)

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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