The circular economy is gaining increasing currency as a strategy in the pursuit of global sustainability. In a circular economy, products are recovered and renewed, and resources are kept in use for as long as possible to extract their maximum value. However, to reach a circular economy, tools are needed to understand our resource consumption and measure progress. SEM methods, such as material flow analysis (MFA), can help us to reach our goals. MFA is an analytical tool that tracks and quantifies the consumption and losses of materials or substances within a defined system in order to identify strategies to optimize their use.
(figure source: https://oscedays.org/)
MFA of industries, e.g. metals manufacturing or food production, can be used to map key materials and identify business opportunities for increasing recycling and closing resource loops. Because many industries depend on scarce resources for their raw materials, minimizing resource consumption and recovering and reusing by-products throughout their supply-chains should be a top priority. SEM tools can be used by industry to aid in this strategic decision-making and realize sustainability and circular economy goals.
Many researchers in the SEM section work on topics that are highly relevant for industry and are very keen to collaborate. Helen Ann Hamilton is our industry liaison. Please contact her and she will put you in touch with researchers in your area at: email@example.com