Americans use and consume over 10 tons of products and resources (“materials”) per person each year. The materials we use flow through the economy from extraction to processing, manufacturing, use, and recovery or disposal. Each stage requires energy and results in greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, more than 40% of U.S. emissions are a result of producing, transporting, and disposing of materials.
Sustainable Material Management
Sustainable materials management is an approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts throughout every stage of a product’s lifecycle, from manufacture to disposal. Examples of effective greenhouse gas emissions emission reduction strategies include reducing the amount of materials used to make products or provide services, influencing product design to reduce the amount of raw materials used and increase their durability so they last longer, and increasing ease of disassembly, recycling, and transformation of products for further use of their components.