Recycling: A Key Factor for Resource Efficiency

Ernst Worrell*, Markus A. Reuter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Industrial society has become extremely dependent on resources, as it produces more, builds an increasingly complex society and accumulates an incredible volume of resources. The materials are drawn from natural resources. However, the Earth's resources are not infinite, but until recently, they have seemed to be. Increasingly we realize that our society may be approaching certain fundamental limits. This has made access to materials an issue of national security of many nations, especially also to ensure that emerging new "sustainable" technologies can be supplied with metals and materials. Our resources use results in increasing amounts of solid wastes, which are discarded or incinerated. Waste is becoming a large problem, as we are running out of land for landfilling, and end-of-life waste treatment has negative environmental and health impacts. To maintain our level of welfare, services by resources should be provided more efficiently using less (environmental) resources per unit of activity, i.e. improve the resource efficiency of our society. Recent economic and global developments have put recycling in the spotlight again, necessitating a critical assessment of the role of recycling in the context of a resource efficient society. It is the objective to show in this book how material and product centric recycling can be harmonized to maximize resource efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Recycling: State-of-the-art for Practitioners, Analysts, and Scientists
EditorsErnst Worrell, Markus Reuter
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780123965066
ISBN (Print)9780123964595
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2014
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • Industrial society
  • Market prices
  • Recycling economics
  • Resource efficiency
  • Waste management

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