Materials and the environment

This course is part of the programme
Master’s study programme Environment (second cycle)

Objectives and competences

This course is about how we use materials and what that means for the environment. With the goal of understanding how we can minimize our impact and imprint on the environment, students will learn about our dependence on materials and energy, where materials come from, how they are used in different industries, their life cycle, their limitations, and how we can properly select and design them.


The subject is multidisciplinary and it assumes the students be familiar with the fundamentals taught in other environmental courses such as Environmental Management and any other course that on the subject of material science.


  • Increasing dependence on materials and energy
  • Life cycle of materials and modelling (life cycle assesment)
  • The right choice of materials
  • A look at global legislation
  • Sustainable materials, eco-data and tools
  • Strategies for materials selection
  • Circular materials and sustainable development

Intended learning outcomes

  • Understanding the difficult issue of sustainability
  • An understanding of the impact of materials and their use on the environment
  • Methods for thinking and designing with materials to minimize environmental impact
  • Basics in life cycle assessment



Written exam (50%), oral exam (50%).

Lecturer's references

Assistant professor in the field of Environment at University of Nova Gorica

  • Oarga-Mulec, A. Turk J., Gerbec P., Jenssen P. D., Malovrh Rebec K., Valant M., 2023. Life cycle assessment of black and greywater treatment solutions for remote and sensitive areas. Sustainability. 15, 4, 3832, 1-16,, DOI: 10.3390/su15043832.
  • Oarga-Mulec A., Skok S., Simčič T., Mulec J., 2021. Characteristics and impact of aged coal ash with slag emplaced in a karst cave : the case of Divaška jama, Slovenia. Scientific reports. 11, 23410, 1-10, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-02842-7.
  • Oarga-Mulec A., Mladenovič A., Mauko Pranjić A., Oprčkal P., Ščančar J., Milačič R., 2020. Study of interferences and the procedures for their removal in spectrophotometric determinations of ammonium and selected anions in coloured wastewater samples. Analytical methods. 12, 39: 4769-4782. DOI: 10.1039/D0AY01361G.
  • Oarga-Mulec A., Hanssen J. F., Jenssen P. D., Griessler Bulc T., 2019. A comparison of various bulking materials as a supporting matrix in composting blackwater solids from vacuum toilets. Journal of environmental management, 243:78-87, DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.05.005.
  • Oarga-Mulec A., Jenssen P. D., Krivograd-Klemenčič A., Uršič M., Griessler Bulc T.,2017. Zero-discharge solution for blackwater treatment at remote tourist facilities. Journal of cleaner production, 166: 798-805. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.08.002.