Sustainable Materials Management is a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire lifecycles. It represents a change in how to think about natural resources and environmental protection. By looking at a product’s entire lifecycle new opportunities can be found to reduce environmental impacts, conserve resources, and reduce costs. [1] US and global consumption of materials increased rapidly during the last century. According to the G7 Leaders‘ June 8, 2015 Declaration, global raw material use rose during the 20th century. For every 1 cent increase in gross domestic product, raw material use has risen by 0.4 percent. [2]This is an increase in habitat destruction , biodiversity loss , overly stressed fisheries and desertification . Materials management is also associated with an estimated 42 percent of total US greenhouse gas emissions. Failure to find more productive and sustainable ways to extract, use and manage materials, and change the relationship between material consumption and growth, has serious implications for our economy and society.


Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) represents a framework of sustainably managed materials and products throughout the lifecycle, from resource extraction, design and manufacturing, resource productivity, and end-of-life management.

Cradle-to-Grave pattern of raw material extraction, product manufacturing, distribution to consumers, use by consumers, and disposal; coined by The Story of Stuff Author Annie Leonard as the „take-make-waste“ linear economy and commonly referred to as the throw-away society, [4]These familiar waste management practices are being revised to sustainable resources. SMM represents a shift in the use of materials and the use of environmental protection. SMM has been adopted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many other governments around the world.

Sustainable Materials Management is a broad approach That overlaps and supplements Many programs and concepts being white adopté by gouvernements and business around the world Including zero waste , green chemistry , eco-labeling , sustainable supply chain management , lean manufacturing , green procurement , the US EPA’s Design for the Environment Program , G8’s 3R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) program , UNEP’s Sustainable Production and Consumption and Sustainable Resource Management programs, and OECD’s Sustainable Materials Management framework. [5]

Differences between Waste Management and SMM [6]

  • SMM seeks the largest use of all resources while waste management focuses on managing and reducing waste and waste pollutants at the end of the lifecycle
  • SMM focuses on the whole lifecycle of materials and products while waste management focuses on the end-of life management of waste products
  • SMM is concerned with inputs and outputs to / from the environment and is responsible for managing and managing the environment.
  • SMM’s overall goal is long term sustainability while waste management focuses on managing one environmental impact, that associated with waste products
  • SMM considers all industries and consumers associated with the lifecycle of a material and product as a responsible party where as waste management only considers the generators of the waste and the responsible party

Product Lifecycle Models

There are several similar and overlapping efforts to define and conceptualize the closed loop lifecycle of product and materials management, with many of these efforts being spearheaded by government agencies, entrepreneurs, scientists and non-governmental organizations. While similar to SMM, these product life cycles are largely focused on the end-of-life management of materials while SMM focuses on the impacts of materials, products and services such as eutrophication, acidification, ozone depletion, global warming and aquatic as well as energy and water use. [5]

Product Stewardship

The Product Stewardship Institute defines Product stewardship as:

„The act of minimizing the health, safety, environmental, and social impacts of a product and its packaging throughout the lifecycle, while also maximizing economic benefits.“ The manufacturer, or producer, of the product has the greatest ability to minimize adverse impacts, other stakeholders, such as suppliers, retailers, and consumers, also play a role. [7]

British Columbia (BC) has an extensive product stewardship networked by BC Recycles and made up of BC producers and owners who are required by law and end-of-life products and packaging. [8]

Circular Economy

The U.Ks Waste and Resource Action Program (WRAP) defines the Circular Economy as an alternative to the traditional take, make, waste as long as possible are in use, then recovers the materials at the end of the service life. [9]

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works to accelerate the transition to a business economy by working with businesses, academia and governments throughout the world to develop an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design and seeks to keep products, components and materials at their highest use and value at all times, distinguishing between biological and technical cycles. [10]


The Dictionary of Sustainable Management olefins Cradle to Cradle hast

A phrase invented by Walter R. Stahel in the 1970s and popularized by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their 2002 book of the same name. to-cradle production, all material inputs and outputs, and their use in the production of biological nutrients. responsibility for the disposal of goods it has produced, but not necessarily [11]

Closed Loop Recycling

In closed loop recycling, a material is captured at the end of life and introduced into the manufacturing process to make a new product [12]

Implementing SMM Globally

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a member of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and 23 countries in the European Union, [13] works to foster economic prosperity and end poverty by promoting economic growth and financial stability for governments around the world while also taking into account the implications of economic and social growth on the environment. [14]

Since the 1980s, the OECD has worked to promote policies that prevent, reduce and manage waste in ways that mitigate environmental impacts. It is becoming clear that it is becoming more and more important that it is becoming more and more important that it is becoming more and more efficient and „Cradle to cradle“ cradle to grave „approach to materials management. Around 2001 the OECD began the process of adopting sustainable resources management policies. [15]

In 2012, the OECD put out a Green Growth Policy Brief on Sustainable Materials Management. In it they define SMM as

„… an approach to promote sustainable materials, integrating actions aimed at reducing negative environmental impacts and preserving natural capital throughout the life cycle of materials, taking into account economic efficiency and social equity“. [16]

The working concept of SMM: [16]

  • „Materials“, which may be inorganic or organic substances, at all points throughout their life-cycles.
  • „Life-cycle of materials“ includes all activities related to materials such as extraction, transportation, production, consumption, material / product reuse, recovery, and disposal.
  • An economically efficient outcome is achieved when net benefits are maximized.
  • A variety of policy tools can support SMM, such as economic, regulatory and information instruments and partnerships.
  • SMM may take place at different levels, including firm / sector and different government levels. SMM may cover different geographical areas and time horizons.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

Sustainable Production and Consumption (UNEP)

Sustainable Resource Management (UNEP)

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)

The US EPA has adopted Sustainable Materials Management as a regulatory framework for managing materials. In June 2009 the EPA put out a report that is a road map to SMM in the US titled Sustainable Materials Management – The Road Ahead 2009 – 2020 . In this report, EPA defines SMM as

„… an approach to serving human needs by using / reusing resources productively and sustainably throughout their life cycles, generally minimizing the amount of materials involved and their associated environmental impacts“. [17]

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) sets the legislative basis for SSM in the United States, establishing a preference for resource conservation over disposal. In 2010, the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery shifted focus from just resource recovery efforts to a broader sustainable materials management approach. The new approach includes the two original waste management mandates of RCRA: 1) to protect the health and the environment from waste and 2) to conserve resources, and adds in: use of resources „, 2)“ Prevent exposures to humans and ecosystems from the use of hazardous chemicals „3)“ Manage wastes and clean up chemicals in a safe, environmentally sound manner „. [18]

In 2015 EPA published the report EPA Sustainable Materials Management Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2017 – 2022 . This five-year plan will focus on three strategic initiatives:

  1. The built environment
  2. Organics recycling, and
  3. Reduction in packaging

Other areas the EPA will focus on include sustainable electronics management, life-cycle assessment, measurement, and international SMM collaboration. [18]


  1. Jump up^
  2. Jump up^
  3. Jump up^ EPA, OSWER, US. „Sustainable Materials Management“ . . Retrieved 2016-12-06 .
  4. Jump up^ „Problem: Our“ Take, Make, Waste „Economy“ . .
  5. ^ Jump up to:b „Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead 2009 – 2020″(PDF) . Retrieved 2016-12-05 .
  6. Jump up^ „Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead 2009 – 2020″(PDF) . . Retrieved 2016-12-04 .
  7. Jump up^ „Product Stewardship Institute Definitions“ . . Retrieved 2016-12-04 .
  8. Jump up^ „We’re all in this together. | BC Recycles“ . . Retrieved 2016-12-10 .
  9. Jump up^ „WRAP and the Circular Economy“ . . Retrieved 2016-12-04 .
  10. Jump up^ „Ellen Macarthur Foundation – Circular Economy“ . . Retrieved 2016-12-05 .
  11. Jump up^ „Dictionary of Sustainable Management“ . . Retrieved 2016-12-05 .
  12. Jump up^ „Closed Loop Recycling“ . . Retrieved 2016-12-05 .
  13. Jump up^ „OECD Members and Partners“ . . Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  14. Jump up^ „OECD – What We Do and How“ . . Retrieved 2016-12-03 .
  15. Jump up^ „OECD Sustainable Materials Management“ . . Retrieved 2016-12-03 .
  16. ^ Jump up to:b „Green Growth Policy Brief – Sustainable Materials Management“(PDF) . . Retrieved 2016-12-05 .
  17. Jump up^ „Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead 2009 – 2020″(PDF) . . Retrieved 2016-12-04 .
  18. ^ Jump up to:b „US EPA Sustainable Materials Management Program Strategic Plan – Fiscal Year 2017 – 2022“ (PDF) . . Retrieved 2016-12-04 .