Industrial ecology is a new multidisciplinary field of study requiring that economic activity be integrated with, and have minimal impact on, surrounding natural systems. This systems-based approach is beginning to be implemented in private firms through the development of Design for Environment (DFE) methodologies and tools which support the integration of technological and environmental considerations in all economic activities. As part of this development process, a matrix system is proposed by the author by which the environmental and energy costs embedded in materials as used in generic applications may be identified, facilitating environmentally and economically efficient selection of materials. This Material Environmental Evaluation Matrix is supported by checklists which inform the evaluation process. A set of completed matrices for major materials in common applications forms the basis for an Environmentally Efficient Materials Database (EEMD). Once completed, the EEMD would inform consumers, product and process designers, business planners and managers, regulators and government purchasers, public interest groups, and others in their choice of optimal, environmentally and economically efficient, material options.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law