Changing Stocks, Flows and Behaviors in Industrial Ecosystems

Changing Stocks, Flows and Behaviors in Industrial Ecosystems

Edited by Matthias Ruth and Brynhildur Davidsdottir

Industrial ecology provides a consistent material and energetic description of human production and consumption processes in the larger context of environmental and socioeconomic change. The contributors to this book offer methodologies for such descriptions, focusing on the dynamics associated with stocks of materials and capital, flows of raw materials, intermediate products, desired outputs and wastes, as well as the associated changes in behaviors of producers, consumers and institutions.

Chapter 4: Dynamic Modeling of Material Stocks: A Case Study of In-Use Cement Stocks in the United States

Amit Kapur and Gregory A. Keoleian

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, organisation studies, economics and finance, industrial organisation, environment, environmental management, environmental sociology

Extract

Amit Kapur and Gregory A. Keoleian INTRODUCTION Rapid industrialization and the rise of consumerism have transformed the global landscape. Since the middle of the last century in North America, Western Europe, Japan, and a few other countries, the culture of “overconsumption” has grown exponentially, bringing with it an unprecedented appetite for physical goods and the materials from which they are made (Young and Sachs 1994). In highly populated countries such as China, the levels of consumption of basic commodities such as grain, meat, coal, and steel have surpassed the previous highest consumer, the United States (Brown 2005). Material-based economies today face the challenge of how to make our needs and use of materials sustainable. The assessment of sustainability with regard to resource use and management can be broken down into three components: (1) relationship between rate of resource use and overall stock of resources, (2) effectiveness of resources in providing essential services, and (3) the proportion of resources that are lost from the economy and their impacts on the environment. The first two topics reflect the sustainability of supply, and the third affects the sustainability and health of receiving ecosystems where exiting, no longer in use, resources from the economic system accumulate and reside. The approach to establish and quantify the relationship between societal resource management and sustainability is an emerging subject of research in the field of industrial ecology (Graedel and Klee 2002). The concept of “industrial metabolism” (first introduced by Robert Ayres in Ayres 1989a;...

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