Material efficiency: providing material services with less material

Editors: J. M. Allwood, M. F. Ashby, T. G. Gutowski and E. Worrell

Material Efficiency aims to deliver human well-being with a reduction in total production of high-volume, energy-intensive materials. The motivations for Material Efficiency include reducing energy demand, reducing industrial emissions and increasing national resource security.  There are many technical strategies that might bring it about, and these could mainly be implemented today if preferred by customers or producers.  However, current economic structures favour the substitution of material for labour, and consumer preferences for material consumption appear to continue even beyond the point at which increased consumption provides any increase in well-being.  Therefore intelligent policy will be required to stimulate material efficiency.


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