Special Issue "How Much Environment Do Humans Need?+20 - Reviewing Progress in Material Intensity Analysis for Transition towards Sustainable Resource Management"

A special issue of Resources (ISSN 2079-9276).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2013)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Stefan Bringezu

Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Döppersberg 19 42103 Wuppertal, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +49 202 2492 138
Interests: socio-industrial metabolism and land use; indicators for sustainability (macro-meso-micro); resource efficient supply and infrastructure systems; analysis of drivers of resource use (biomass and minerals) and future scenarios for sustainable resource management
Guest Editor
Dr. Friedrich Hinterberger

Garnisongasse 7/17, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +43 1 969 0728 17
Interests: sustainable; ecological economics; happiness and policy; evolution
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Christa Liedtke

Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Research Group 4: Sustainable Production and Consumption, Doeppersberg 19, 42103 Wuppertal, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +492022492130
Interests: resource efficiency; sustainability assessment along the product chain; sustainability potentials of players and need areas; governance-structures for production and consumption; transition approaches and models of change - sustainability transition of production and consumption patterns, education for sustainable development and resource efficiency

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 1994 the pilot publication of Friedrich "Bio" Schmidt-Bleek occurred in German "How much environment do humans need? MIPS - the measure for ecological economic activities". It introduced the idea of the Material Input per Service unit as a generic measure to help decoupling material resource use from economic growth and final utility for human well-being. Meanwhile the method of material intensity analysis has entered the analytical toolbox of life-cycle wide assessments of products, services, value chains and infrastructures and the categories of MIPS have become part of official statistics monitoring material productivity and consumption of whole economies and industrial sectors. Resource efficiency has reached top-level of policy agendas and the implementation of programs for resource efficiency will depend on the further use and development of the concept, indicators and derivate measures.

20 years later the special issue shall provide a review of the state-of-the-art of material intensity analysis, its integration into broader analytical frameworks, and the application and use of the MIPS concept at different scales from product, company and household level up to whole economies -, both with regard to retrospective accounting and monitoring as well as with regard to prospective design of products and the development of policies for countries and regions. Also its impact and outcome for transition and upscaling processes for a sustainable resource use and management. This includes behavioural studies and action research approaches as well as communication and education concepts that foster low resource lifestyles and SCP-systems.

Abstracts for papers are invited on the following issues:

  • The MIPS idea, FactorX, the concept of decoupling and the multi-level use of material intensity analysis
  • Application of material intensity analysis in economy-wide MFA
  • Resource extended Input-Output-Analysis and material flow analysis of regions
  • Material intensity analysis of companies, households, products and services
  • Material intensity analysis for sectors such as food, housing, waste management and recycling, energy supply systems, mobility or the finance business
  • The use of material intensity analysis in management, policy and evaluation
  • Modelling of future material flows, material and resource productivity
  • Societal trends and resource use: future design of low resource economies, sustainable lifestyles
  • Product and Service design with MIPS
  • Concepts, approaches and materials for teaching on low resource use
  • Communication and consulting – from micro to macro
  • Standardisation and statistics of material flow accounting
  • Factor what? Debating targets for sustainable resource use

Prof. Dr. Stefan Bringezu
Dr. Friedrich Hinterberger
Prof. Dr. Christa Liedtke
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Resources is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Deadline for abstract submission: 15 December 2012

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Possible Target Corridor for Sustainable Use of Global Material Resources
Resources 2015, 4(1), 25-54; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources4010025
Received: 9 October 2014 / Accepted: 4 February 2015 / Published: 11 February 2015
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (423 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many countries have started to develop policy programs for the sustainable use of natural resources. Indicators and targets can cover both a territorial and a life-cycle-wide global perspective. This article focuses on how a safe operating space for global material resource use can
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Many countries have started to develop policy programs for the sustainable use of natural resources. Indicators and targets can cover both a territorial and a life-cycle-wide global perspective. This article focuses on how a safe operating space for global material resource use can be outlined based on existing economy-wide material flow indicators. It reflects on issues such as scale and systems perspective, as the choice of indicators determines the target “valves” of the socio-industrial metabolism. It considers environmental pressures and social aspects of safe and fair resource use. Existing proposals for resource consumption targets are reviewed, partially revisited, and taken as a basis to outline potential target values for a safe operating space for the extraction and use of minerals and biomass by final consumption. A potential sustainability corridor is derived with the Total Material Consumption of abiotic resources ranging from 6 to 12 t/person, the Total Material Consumption of biotic resources not exceeding 2 t/person, and the Raw Material Consumption of used biotic and abiotic materials ranging from 3 to 6 t/person until 2050. For policy, a “10-2-5 target triplet” can provide orientation, when the three indicators are assigned values of 10, 2, and 5 t/person, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Exploring the Potential of a German Living Lab Research Infrastructure for the Development of Low Resource Products and Services
Resources 2014, 3(3), 575-598; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources3030575
Received: 14 June 2013 / Revised: 22 July 2014 / Accepted: 19 August 2014 / Published: 24 September 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (566 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Living Labs for Sustainable Development aim to integrate users and actors for the successful generation of low-resource innovations in production-consumption systems. This paper investigates potentials of and measures towards the realization of a German Living Lab infrastructure to support actor-integrated sustainability research and
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Living Labs for Sustainable Development aim to integrate users and actors for the successful generation of low-resource innovations in production-consumption systems. This paper investigates potentials of and measures towards the realization of a German Living Lab infrastructure to support actor-integrated sustainability research and innovations in Germany. Information was primarily derived from extensive dialog with experts from the fields of innovation, sustainable development and the Living Lab community (operators, users, etc.), which was facilitated through interviews and workshops. A status quo analysis revealed that, generally, the sustainability and Living Lab communities are hardly intertwined. Twelve Living Labs that explicitly consider sustainability aspects were identified. The application fields “Living and Working”, “Town, Region and Mobility”, and “Retail and Gastronomy” were identified as particularly suitable for investigation in Living Labs and highly relevant in terms of resource efficiency. Based on the analyses of drivers and barriers and SWOT, keystones for the development of a research infrastructure for user integrated development of sustainable products and services were formulated. Suggested strategies and measures include targeted funding programs for actor-integrated, socio-technical research based on a Living Lab network, a communication campaign, and programs to foster networking and the inclusion of SMEs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Resource Use in the Production and Consumption System—The MIPS Approach
Resources 2014, 3(3), 544-574; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources3030544
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 9 July 2014 / Accepted: 21 July 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (639 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept Material Input per Service Unit (MIPS) was developed 20 years ago as a measure for the overall natural resource use of products and services. The material intensity analysis is used to calculate the material footprint of any economic activities in production
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The concept Material Input per Service Unit (MIPS) was developed 20 years ago as a measure for the overall natural resource use of products and services. The material intensity analysis is used to calculate the material footprint of any economic activities in production and consumption. Environmental assessment has developed extensive databases for life cycle inventories, which can additionally be adopted for material intensity analysis. Based on practical experience in measuring material footprints on the micro level, this paper presents the current state of research and methodology development: it shows the international discussions on the importance of accounting methodologies to measure progress in resource efficiency. The MIPS approach is presented and its micro level application for assessing value chains, supporting business management, and operationalizing sustainability strategies is discussed. Linkages to output-oriented Life Cycle Assessment as well as to Material Flow Analysis (MFA) at the macro level are pointed out. Finally we come to the conclusion that the MIPS approach provides relevant knowledge on resource and energy input at the micro level for fact-based decision-making in science, policy, business, and consumption. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Eight Tons of Material Footprint—Suggestion for a Resource Cap for Household Consumption in Finland
Resources 2014, 3(3), 488-515; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources3030488
Received: 10 August 2013 / Revised: 3 February 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 9 July 2014
Cited by 24 | PDF Full-text (424 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper suggests a sustainable material footprint of eight tons, per person, in a year as a resource cap target for household consumption in Finland. This means an 80% (factor 5) reduction from the present Finnish average. The material footprint is used as
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The paper suggests a sustainable material footprint of eight tons, per person, in a year as a resource cap target for household consumption in Finland. This means an 80% (factor 5) reduction from the present Finnish average. The material footprint is used as a synonym to the Total Material Requirement (TMR) calculated for products and activities. The paper suggests how to allocate the sustainable material footprint to different consumption components on the basis of earlier household studies, as well as other studies, on the material intensity of products, services, and infrastructures. It analyzes requirements, opportunities, and challenges for future developments in technology and lifestyle, also taking into account that future lifestyles are supposed to show a high degree of diversity. The targets and approaches are discussed for the consumption components of nutrition, housing, household goods, mobility, leisure activities, and other purposes. The paper states that a sustainable level of natural resource use by households is achievable and it can be roughly allocated to different consumption components in order to illustrate the need for a change in lifestyles. While the absolute material footprint of all the consumption components will have to decrease, the relative share of nutrition, the most basic human need, in the total material footprint is expected to rise, whereas much smaller shares than at present are proposed for housing and especially mobility. For reducing material resource use to the sustainable level suggested, both social innovations, and technological developments are required. Full article
Open AccessArticle Global Patterns of Material Flows and their Socio-Economic and Environmental Implications: A MFA Study on All Countries World-Wide from 1980 to 2009
Resources 2014, 3(1), 319-339; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources3010319
Received: 17 December 2013 / Revised: 8 March 2014 / Accepted: 10 March 2014 / Published: 18 March 2014
Cited by 33 | PDF Full-text (1394 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper assesses world-wide patterns of material extraction, trade, consumption and productivity based on a new data set for economy-wide material flows, covering used materials for all countries world-wide between 1980 and 2009. We show that global material extraction has grown by more
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This paper assesses world-wide patterns of material extraction, trade, consumption and productivity based on a new data set for economy-wide material flows, covering used materials for all countries world-wide between 1980 and 2009. We show that global material extraction has grown by more than 90% over the past 30 years and is reaching almost 70 billion tonnes today. Also, trade volumes in physical terms have increased by a factor of 2.5 over the past 30 years, and in 2009, 9.3 billion tonnes of raw materials and products were traded around the globe. China has turned into the biggest consumer of materials world-wide and together with the US, India, Brazil and Russia, consumes more than 50% of all globally extracted materials. We also show that the per-capita consumption levels are very uneven, with a factor of more than 60 between the country with the lowest and highest consumption in 2009. On average, each human being consumed 10 tonnes of materials in 2009, 2 tonnes more than in 1980. We discuss whether decoupling of economies’ growth from resource use has occurred and analyse interrelations of material use with human development. Finally, we elaborate on key environmental problems related to various material groups. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Revisiting Rebound Effects from Material Resource Use. Indications for Germany Considering Social Heterogeneity
Resources 2014, 3(1), 106-122; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources3010106
Received: 7 November 2013 / Revised: 7 January 2014 / Accepted: 20 January 2014 / Published: 10 February 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (305 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In contrast to the original investigation by William Stanley Jevons, compensations of energy savings due to improved energy efficiency are mostly analyzed by providing energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions. In support of a sustainable resource management, this paper analyzes so-called rebound effects
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In contrast to the original investigation by William Stanley Jevons, compensations of energy savings due to improved energy efficiency are mostly analyzed by providing energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions. In support of a sustainable resource management, this paper analyzes so-called rebound effects based on resource use. Material flows and associated expenditures by households allow for calculating resource intensities and marginal propensities to consume. Marginal propensities to consume are estimated from data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in order to account for indirect rebound effects for food, housing and mobility. Resource intensities are estimated in terms of total material requirements per household final consumption expenditures along the Classification of Individual Consumption according to Purpose (COICOP). Eventually, rebound effects are indicated on the basis of published saving scenarios in resource and energy demand for Germany. In sum, compensations due to rebound effects are lowest for food while the highest compensations are induced for mobility. This is foremost the result of a relatively high resource intensity of food and a relatively low resource intensity in mobility. Findings are provided by giving various propensity scenarios in order to cope with income differences in Germany. The author concludes that policies on resource conservation need to reconsider rebound effects under the aspect of social heterogeneity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle “Norm-Oriented Interpretation Learning” and Resource Use: The Concept of “Open-Didactic Exploration” as a Contribution to Raising Awareness of a Responsible Resource Use
Resources 2014, 3(1), 1-30; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources3010001
Received: 14 October 2013 / Revised: 17 December 2013 / Accepted: 7 January 2014 / Published: 17 January 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (531 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is widely accepted that environmental awareness is essential, yet does not inevitably lead to responsible use of resources. Additional factors on the individual level include the meaning constructed by the term “resources” and the individual and social norms that influence the relevant
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It is widely accepted that environmental awareness is essential, yet does not inevitably lead to responsible use of resources. Additional factors on the individual level include the meaning constructed by the term “resources” and the individual and social norms that influence the relevant behavior. Current didactic concepts do not take into account such aspects. Therefore, this article uses a didactic-psychological approach for designing an educational concept for raising awareness for a responsible use of natural resources. Combining insights of environmental psychology and of constructivist didactics, a general principal of “norm-oriented interpretation learning” is outlined to enrich the didactic debate on responsible and efficient resource use. Based on the presentation of a qualifying module for resource efficiency consultants as a practical example of resource education, a new didactical approach, namely “open-didactic exploration” (short form: ODE) is introduced. The article discusses the theory-based elements of ODE and illustrates a step by step process for designing educational materials. This adds to the theoretical debate about a didactic design for resource oriented education. Furthermore, this method can be directly used by practitioners developing education and training material (e.g., teachers, trainers in vocational education). The Wuppertal Institute developed and applied this method in numerous projects. The conclusion and outlook discusses future expectations and scope of the introduced ODE method as a contribution to foster “norm-oriented interpretation learning”, suggesting perspectives for further development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Conventional, Organic and Polycultural Farming Practices: Material Intensity of Italian Crops and Foodstuffs
Resources 2013, 2(4), 628-650; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources2040628
Received: 13 October 2013 / Revised: 30 November 2013 / Accepted: 2 December 2013 / Published: 9 December 2013
PDF Full-text (879 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Food system sustainability is a major issue of concern for policy makers. Feeding an increasing world population without compromising the endowment of natural resources or worsening the environmental crisis is, indeed, a major challenge. The need to boost sustainable and productive farming systems
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Food system sustainability is a major issue of concern for policy makers. Feeding an increasing world population without compromising the endowment of natural resources or worsening the environmental crisis is, indeed, a major challenge. The need to boost sustainable and productive farming systems and enhance resource efficiency has been acknowledged by European Union policy in its 2020 Strategy. This study assesses the impact of some Italian foodstuffs and agricultural products in terms of material requirement, using the Material Input Per Service unit (MIPS) indicator. The conventional, organic and post-organic agricultural practice called Ma-Pi polyculture is investigated. Results show that, in spite of higher yields obtained by conventional agriculture, material efficiency of organic crops and foodstuffs is generally higher. Moreover, a drastic enhancement of material efficiency is achievable using agronomic practices that minimize the employment of external inputs. As a tool for evaluating the environmental sustainability of agricultural products, MIPS allows focusing on a priority policy area, i.e., resource efficiency, which could be easily employed for driving agricultural systems towards a sustainable intensification. Data quality and availability of Material Input (MI) factors remains, however, a constraining issue for the applicability of the indicator. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Environmentally Ineffective Way to Increase Resource Productivity: Evidence from the Italian Case on Transferring the Burden Abroad
Resources 2013, 2(4), 608-627; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources2040608
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 4 December 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (285 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Policy has so far not taken full advantage of the tools offered by the “material flows” school of thought. Resource Productivity (RP) is amongst the normative concepts currently popular among policy makers the nearest one to Material Input Per Service unit (MIPS). However,
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Policy has so far not taken full advantage of the tools offered by the “material flows” school of thought. Resource Productivity (RP) is amongst the normative concepts currently popular among policy makers the nearest one to Material Input Per Service unit (MIPS). However, the RP concept falls substantially short of the MIPS idea, as it puts resource use in relation to the monetary value of production, while MIPS makes reference to services actually delivered by the products. Moreover, the indicator currently used by the European Commission for monitoring RP lacks in life-cycle perspective, which is essential in the MIPS concept. The present paper illustrates, by using Italian case evidence, some of the current RP indicator shortcomings and it discusses a possible alternative, by introducing the life-cycle perspective. In Italy, RP has grown faster than both energy and labour productivity since 1980. This apparently shows that Italy is moving in the right direction. However, a deeper and more extensive analysis regarding the country’s natural resource requirements is necessary before a conclusion can be drawn about the sustainability of the Italian socio-economic process. Therefore, on the one hand we disaggregate material consumption (i.e., the denominator of RP) into its components; on the other hand we extend the analysis to overall material requirements, including indirect material flows associated with international trade. These analyses, although limited to used materials (i.e., to resource requirements in Raw Material Equivalents), demonstrate that the Italian success in increasing RP is largely due to the transferring abroad of material flows and ecological burden. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Calculating MIPS 2.0
Resources 2013, 2(4), 581-607; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources2040581
Received: 2 August 2013 / Revised: 24 September 2013 / Accepted: 11 October 2013 / Published: 25 October 2013
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (1338 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Wuppertal Institute developed, in the early 1990s, an input-oriented lifecycle-wide resource accounting method, the “Material Input per Service-Unit” concept (MIPS), today also referred to as “Material Footprint”. The official handbook applicable to products, services, and processes describes a MS Excel-based sequential approach
[...] Read more.
The Wuppertal Institute developed, in the early 1990s, an input-oriented lifecycle-wide resource accounting method, the “Material Input per Service-Unit” concept (MIPS), today also referred to as “Material Footprint”. The official handbook applicable to products, services, and processes describes a MS Excel-based sequential approach for calculating MIPS. Today’s computing power, available to every researcher, and access to software and databases dedicated to lifecycle analysis make calculating MIPS using matrix inversion possible. This also opens up possibilities for enhancing MIPS-models programmatically: parameterizing the foreground and background systems, batch modeling for producing time series, and computational algorithms enhancing interpretation. The article provides (1) an overview of the methods and tools used for calculating MIPS from its origins to today, and (2) demonstrates some of the programmatically enhanced capabilities offered to MIPS-practitioners. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Resource Use of Wind Farms in the German North Sea—The Example of Alpha Ventus and Bard Offshore I
Resources 2013, 2(4), 504-516; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources2040504
Received: 3 July 2013 / Revised: 3 September 2013 / Accepted: 16 September 2013 / Published: 7 October 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1172 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The German government aims to obtain at least 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. One of the central steps to reach this target is the construction of deep sea offshore wind farms. The paper presents a material intensity analysis
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The German government aims to obtain at least 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. One of the central steps to reach this target is the construction of deep sea offshore wind farms. The paper presents a material intensity analysis of the offshore wind farms “Alpha Ventus” and “Bard Offshore I” under consideration of the grid connection. An additional onshore scenario is considered for comparison. The results show that offshore wind farms have higher resource consumption than onshore farms. In general, and in respect to the resource use of other energy systems, both can be tagged as resource efficient. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Acceptance of Mobile Phone Return Programmes for Increased Resource Efficiency by Young People—Experiences from a German Research Project
Resources 2013, 2(3), 385-405; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources2030385
Received: 5 May 2013 / Revised: 9 August 2013 / Accepted: 12 August 2013 / Published: 16 September 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (855 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The need for recycling obsolete mobile phones has significantly increased with their rapidly growing worldwide production and distribution. Return and recycling rates are quite low; people tend to keep old, unused phones at home instead of returning them for recycling or further use
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The need for recycling obsolete mobile phones has significantly increased with their rapidly growing worldwide production and distribution. Return and recycling rates are quite low; people tend to keep old, unused phones at home instead of returning them for recycling or further use because of a lack of knowledge and acceptance of return programmes. Thus far, individual use and recycling behavior has not shown any trend towards more sustainable patterns. Consequently, an increased awareness is needed for the high environmental and social impact throughout the whole value chain of a mobile phone—there is simply a lack of information and knowledge regarding sustainability issues around the mobile phone. A teaching material was therefore developed in a German research project, based on the concept of the ecological rucksack, presenting comprehensive information about the value chain of a mobile phone. Its application in different schools led to an increased awareness and interest among pupils for the connection between sustainability, resources and mobile phones. Based on these research results, this paper analyses young people’s knowledge of sustainability issues linked to their mobile phones and their acceptance of more sustainable behavioral patterns regarding their mobile, including return and recycling programmes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Material Flow Cost Accounting as an Approach to Improve Resource Efficiency in Manufacturing Companies
Resources 2013, 2(3), 358-369; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources2030358
Received: 28 June 2013 / Revised: 9 August 2013 / Accepted: 15 August 2013 / Published: 3 September 2013
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (1221 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
What potentials do manufacturing companies have for identifying inefficiencies in their use of resources? Assessing the products with regard to their durability, functional usefulness, use of materials, etc. is only one aspect of the exercise. The actual production operations and the search
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What potentials do manufacturing companies have for identifying inefficiencies in their use of resources? Assessing the products with regard to their durability, functional usefulness, use of materials, etc. is only one aspect of the exercise. The actual production operations and the search for in-plant inefficiencies represent the other. In Germany, the material flow cost accounting (MFCA) method was developed years ago to tackle this requirement. It evaluates material losses in the company in monetary terms and thus points up the economic benefit of resource efficiency. MFCA first achieved practical relevance and large-scale application in Japan. Now there is even an ISO standard on the method. The article outlines the process and presents typical examples. It explains how a methodological bridge can be built to assess the loss of material in ecological terms too. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Material Flows Resulting from Large Scale Deployment of Wind Energy in Germany
Resources 2013, 2(3), 303-334; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources2030303
Received: 16 June 2013 / Revised: 12 August 2013 / Accepted: 14 August 2013 / Published: 27 August 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (979 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ambitious targets for renewable energies in Germany indicate that the steady growth of installed capacity of the past years will continue for the coming decades. This development is connected with significant material flows—primary material demand as well as secondary material flows. These
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The ambitious targets for renewable energies in Germany indicate that the steady growth of installed capacity of the past years will continue for the coming decades. This development is connected with significant material flows—primary material demand as well as secondary material flows. These flows have been analyzed for Germany up to the year 2050 using a statistical model for the turbines’ discard patterns. The analysis encompasses the flows of bulk metals, plastics, and rare earths (required for permanent magnets in gearless converters). Different expansion scenarios for wind energy are considered as well as different turbine technologies, future development of hub height and rotor diameter, and an enhanced deployment of converters located offshore. In addition to the direct material use, the total material requirement has been calculated using the material input per service unit (MIPS) concept. The analysis shows that the demand for iron, steel, and aluminum will not exceed around 6% of the current domestic consumption. The situation for rare earths appears to be different with a maximum annual neodymium demand for wind energy converters corresponding to about a quarter of the overall 2010 consumption. It has been shown that by efficiently utilizing secondary material flows a net material demand reduction of up to two thirds by 2050 seems possible, (i.e., if secondary material flows are fully used to substitute primary material demand). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Total Material Requirement of Growing China: 1995–2008
Resources 2013, 2(3), 270-285; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources2030270
Received: 9 July 2013 / Revised: 4 August 2013 / Accepted: 9 August 2013 / Published: 20 August 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1369 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article presents the accounts of China’s Total Material Requirement (TMR) during 1995–2008, which were compiled under the guidelines of Eurostat (2009) and with the Hidden Flow (HF) coefficients developed by the Wuppertal Institute. Subsequently, comparisons with previous studies are conducted. Using decomposition,
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This article presents the accounts of China’s Total Material Requirement (TMR) during 1995–2008, which were compiled under the guidelines of Eurostat (2009) and with the Hidden Flow (HF) coefficients developed by the Wuppertal Institute. Subsequently, comparisons with previous studies are conducted. Using decomposition, we finally examine the influential factors that have changed the TMR of China. The main findings are the following: (1) During 1995–2008 China’s TMR increased from 32.7 Gt to 57.0 Gt. Domestic extraction dominated China’s TMR, but a continuous decrease of its shares can be observed. In terms of material types, excavation constituted the biggest component of China’s TMR, and a shift from biomass to metallic minerals is apparent; (2) Compared with two previous studies on China’s TMR, the amounts of TMR in this study are similar to the others, whereas the amounts of the used part of TMR (Direct Material Input, DMI) are quite different as a result of following different guidelines; (3) Compared with developed countries, China’s TMR per capita was much lower, but a continuous increase of this indicator can be observed; (4) Factors of Affluence (A) and Material Intensity (T), respectively, contributed the most to the increase and decrease of TMR, but the overall decrease effect is limited. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Collaborative Consumption: Towards a Resource-Saving Consumption Culture
Resources 2013, 2(3), 184-203; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources2030184
Received: 9 May 2013 / Revised: 26 June 2013 / Accepted: 9 July 2013 / Published: 30 July 2013
Cited by 44 | PDF Full-text (222 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Resource efficiency in production and technological innovations are inadequate for considerably reducing the current use of natural resources. Both social innovations and a complementary and equally valued strategy of sustainable consumption are required: goods must be used longer, and services that support collaborative
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Resource efficiency in production and technological innovations are inadequate for considerably reducing the current use of natural resources. Both social innovations and a complementary and equally valued strategy of sustainable consumption are required: goods must be used longer, and services that support collaborative consumption (CC) patterns must be extended. “Using rather than owning” strategies, such as product sharing, have the potential to conserve resources. Based on the results of different German studies, this article highlights the resource-saving potentials of CC patterns and recommendations proposed for policies and further research questions. The purpose of this paper is to show that a general resource-saving potential can be realized by “use rather than own” schemes, depending on the application field and the framework for implementation. CC is suitable for making a positive contribution to achieving the Factor 10 target by playing an important role in changing consumer patterns. Full article
Open AccessArticle Identifying Key Sectors and Measures for a Transition towards a Low Resource Economy
Resources 2013, 2(3), 151-166; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources2030151
Received: 2 May 2013 / Revised: 10 June 2013 / Accepted: 25 June 2013 / Published: 8 July 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (690 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A transition towards a low resource economy is unavoidable. This can be concluded from numerous initiatives which have been introduced recently. Methodologies and indicators are required in order to better assess the possibilities and challenges related to a transition towards a low resource
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A transition towards a low resource economy is unavoidable. This can be concluded from numerous initiatives which have been introduced recently. Methodologies and indicators are required in order to better assess the possibilities and challenges related to a transition towards a low resource economy. One of these is economy-wide material flow analysis (MFA). When MFA is connected to national economics accounts it enables the input-output analysis (IOA) of the economic structures causing material flows. In this study we used IO modelling and total flow analysis to identify industrial sectors with the highest material flows in Finland. The analysis exposed that in Finland most resource consumption is caused by the export industry, of which material intensity is low and does not produce significant value added, whereas the domestic construction sector, with notable resource flows, produces significant value added. A low resource economy requires significant and radical change in socio-technological systems and people’s mindsets. Due to the complexity of society and the diversity of the economy different types of measures are needed in order to achieve the change. We suggest some measures related to regulations, eco-design, material recycling and welfare for production, investments, services and individual consumption, for example. In the future, the transition towards a low resource economy needs radical changes, more innovations, policy support and actions on all societal levels. Full article
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