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Brought into focus by sustainable development along with related issues of resource efficiency and health hazard reduction, sustainability in industrial waste recycling is becoming an emerging area with potentials to contribute to environmental protection, economic development and social benefit. This paper examines a sustainability management approach to the development of sustainable recycling technologies. It focuses on characterizing, modeling and assessing the critical sustainability factors of a closed-loop recycling technology for recovery of nickel from waste catalysts. The sustainability factors are identified from the nickel recovery process and modeled in metrics to evaluate economic and environmental impacts. The results suggest that the economic profitability of nickel recovery from wastes strongly depends on nickel market values and it also increases over production batch size. Its environmental impact is highly sensitive to changes in energy consumption. However, energy intensity indicates that there exist improvement rooms in energy efficiency for the current process.