Improvement of Materials Efficiency for a Sustainable Resource Management


Article Preview

Industry has to handle two major cost factors: labor and materials. To improve competitiveness, companies usually try to optimize the personnel cost which leads, however, to augmentation of unemployment. In spite of this, materials costs are often higher than the cost for labor in producing industries. Beside this economic aspect lower materials consumption is also a benefit for the environment. In Germany, a program was started in 2004 by the German government to improve materials efficiency. A study has been undertaken to identify potential fields of improvement in the industry and potential measures to achieve improvements in materials efficiency. According to the results of the study improvement of materials efficiency can be achieved by application of interdisciplinary technologies, reduction of waste and cuttings (“zero-loss management”), improved product quality and optimization of construction and product design (“design to cost”). Another tool within the program is the competition for the German Materials Efficiency Award dedicated to small and medium-sized enterprises, given to best-practice examples of materials efficiency in small and medium-sized enterprises. The paper discusses the different categories of efficiency and the environmental impact of materials consumption considering the concept of TMR (Total Materials Requirement). With the concept of TMR (Total Materials Requirement) it is possible to express the total mass of primary materials extracted from nature including “hidden” flows to generate raw material for industrial production.



Materials Science Forum (Volumes 539-543)

Main Theme:

Edited by:

T. Chandra, K. Tsuzaki, M. Militzer , C. Ravindran




F. G. Simon "Improvement of Materials Efficiency for a Sustainable Resource Management", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 539-543, pp. 2305-2310, 2007

Online since:

March 2007




[1] G. Matos and L. Wagner, Consumption of materials in the United States 1900-1995, Annual Review of Energy and Environment 23 (1998) 107-122.

DOI: 10.1146/

[2] P.A. Ehrlich and J.P. Holdren, Impacts of population growth, Science 171 (1971) 1212-1217.

[3] F. Schmidt-Bleek, Das MIPS-Konzept, Droemer Knaur, München, (1998).

[4] K. Halada, K. Ijima, N. Katagiri and T. Ohkura, An approximate estimation of total materials requirement of metals, Journal of the Japan Institute of Metals 65(7) (2001) 564-570.

DOI: 10.2320/jinstmet1952.65.7_564

[5] A. Adriaanse, S. Bringezu, A. Hammond, Y. Moriguchi, E. Rodenburg, D. Rogich et al., Resource flows: The material basis of industrial economies, World Resource Institute (WRI), Washington, DC, (1997).

[6] S. Bringezu, Towards sustainable resource management in the European Union. Wuppertal-Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy, Wuppertal Paper, 121, Wuppertal, (2002).

[7] Statistisches Bundesamt, Umweltnutzung und Wirtschaft, Bericht zu den umweltökonomischen Gesamtrechnungen, www. destatis. de, Wiesbaden, (2005).

[8] H. Fischer, K. Lichtblau, B. Meyer and J. Scheelhaase, Wachstums- und Beschäftigungsimpulse rentabler Materialeinsparungen, Wirtschaftsdienst 84(4) (2004) 247-254.

[9] Aachener Stiftung Kathy Beys, ed. Ressourcenproduktivität als Chance - Ein langfristiges Konjunkturprogramm für Deutschland, Book on demand, Berlin, (2005).

[10] K. Nakaniwa, Eco-efficiency Indicator Handbook for products. Japan Environmental Management Association for Industry (JEMAI), Public release draft, (2004).

[11] T. Aoe, Introduction and development of a Factor X (Eco-efficiency) tool, 2003 IEEE International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment, Boston, MA, (2003).

[12] R.U. Ayres, J. Holmberg and B. Andersson, Materials and the Global Environment: Waste Mining in the 21st Century, MRS Bulletin (June) (2001) 477-480.

DOI: 10.1557/mrs2001.119

[13] R.U. Ayres, Metals recycling: economic and environmental implications, Resources, Conservation and Recycling 21 (1997) 145-173.

DOI: 10.1016/s0921-3449(97)00033-5

[14] F.G. Simon, C. Adam, B. Adamczyk and K. Weimann, Recovery of non-renewable resources from waste, in: T. White, C. Ferraris, L. Yu, K. Halada and O. Umezawa (Editors), Advances in Ecomaterials, Vol. 2, Stallion Press Pte Ltd, Singapore, 2005, pp.148-155.

Fetching data from Crossref.
This may take some time to load.