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REVISION CARDS - THE MATERIALS ECONOMY
(A LINEAR SYSTEM)
V.Ryan © 2016
 
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THE MATERIALS ECONOMY
(A LINEAR SYSTEM)

It is a system that starts with the extraction of raw materials from the ground and their processing into usable materials. This is followed by the materials being used to manufacture products in factories (called production). The next two stages are the distribution of products to retail outlets or direct to the consumer (consumption). The last stage, at the end of the products useful life, is disposal. This elementary way of describing the Materials Economy, reveals a simple but important flaw with the system. It is unsustainable.

 

THE MATERIALS ECONOMY
(A LINEAR SYSTEM)

The system affects everyone. Billions of people are employed in the Materials Economy (see below).

REMOVING RAW MATERIALS FROM THE GROUND

PROCESSING MATERIALS

IN FACTORIES MAKING PRODUCTS

DISTRIBUTING THE PRODUCTS

CONSUMERS - WE BUY PRODUCTS

PRODUCTS DISPOSED / DUMPED

 
 
 

THE MATERIALS ECONOMY
- CONSEQUENCES

Damage to the environment.
Pollution.
Climate change.
Working conditions - Health and Safety.

CAN THE SYSTEM BE CHANGED?
Use only recycled and sustainable materials (close loop system), when manufacturing.
Use environmentally friendly fuels such as biofuels, hydrogen cells, wind power, solar power - electricity to power our transport system and homes.
Consume fewer products and demand long lasting sustainable products, not ones that end up being disposed of / dumped.

 

ANALTERNATIVE TO THE MATERIALS ECONOMY

 

 
 
 
QUESTIONS
 
1. What is the Materials Economy? 5 marks
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. How could the Materials Economy be changed to benefit people and the environment? 4 marks
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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