1st Edition

Materials and Sustainability Building a Circular Future

    270 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines sustainable manufacturing, from the extraction of materials to processing, use, and disposal, and argues that significant changes in all of the above are needed for the world to progress toward a more circular economy.

    Materials and processing methods are usually chosen with performance as the key metric. Why has our society embraced plastics? Because they work. In most cases, they are lighter, easier to manufacture, and less expensive than the metal, wood, glass, or stone they have replaced. Why do industrial manufacturers use toxic chemicals? Because they are effective, but the unintended consequences may be severe. By learning how various materials are made and what happens when they are recycled, readers will better understand the value of materials and the challenges that manufacturers face when trying to make their facilities and products less toxic and less wasteful. The three chapters in Part I provide essential background about materials in the circular economy, chemicals, and waste. Part II delves into specific materials. It includes chapters on plastics, metals, wood and paper products, glass, and novel materials. Part III covers recycling and manufacturing processes, and Part IV delves into practical considerations, including the effect of regulations, concluding with a chapter that helps readers translate the information presented into action. Interviews with industry experts round out the chapters and offer valuable insights.

    Materials and Sustainability is a must-read for business professionals who are serious about making their companies as environmentally responsible as possible and for business and engineering students who want to begin their careers with practical knowledge about materials and their impacts.

    List of Figures

    List of Tables


    Preface: Why This Book, Why Now

    Part I: Setting the Stage, Posing the Problem

    1. Introduction: Materials and the Circular Economy

    2. Chemicals: The Challenge of Removing Toxicants

    3. Reining in Excess Waste

    Part II: The Materials We Use

    4. Metals and Mining: Routes to Responsible Practices

    5. Wood, Pulp, and Cellulosic Materials: Are They All Leafy Green?

    6. Glass: A Brighter, Lighter Future?

    7. Plastics: Wonder Materials or Global Disaster?

    8. Material Innovations and Future Materials: Can Performance Improvements Make Them Mainstream?

    Part III: Rethinking the Product Life Cycle

    9. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    10. Tackling the E-Waste Monster

    11. It Adds Up: 3D Printing and Sustainability

    Part IV: Practical Considerations to Motivate Change

    12. Enforce or Encourage? The Role of Regulations and Certifications

    13. The Message You Send: The Value of Transparency and Disclosure

    14. Real-World Implementation for Businesses, Governments, and Individuals

    Conclusion: Looking to the Future

    Further Reading



    Julia L Freer Goldstein is the founder of JLFG Communications, a member of 1% for the Planet. Her company works with manufacturers to help them connect business goals, environmental action, and effective communication strategies. She has a background in engineering, journalism, content writing, and teaching. She holds a PhD in Materials Science from UC Berkeley. Julia has over 25 years of experience working in and writing about the semiconductor manufacturing industry. She writes a Sustainability 101 column for 3D InCites, an online publication and membership community serving that industry. Julia's book Material Value is a B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree, finalist in the 2019 San Francisco Writers Contest, and semifinalist for the 2020 Nonfiction BookLife Prize. She is also the author of two other books and many articles in trade and business publications.

    Paul Foulkes-Arellano is the founder of circular economy consulting business Circuthon® Consulting, where he advises global brands and bioeconomy start-ups. His areas of expertise are raw materials, packaging, apparel, and footwear. His particular focus is NextGen fibers, biomaterials, and novel material development. Paul sits on the advisory boards of alternative fiber producer, ReStalk, and textile upcyclers, Must Had. He is a non-executive director at cellulosic pigments specialist Sparxell. Paul runs two non-profit initiatives: The Circular Footwear Initiative and The Circular Fashion Initiative.

    “This is an important book for anyone who wants to understand how to navigate the complexities of reducing our material impact on the planet’s ecosystems. It contains much knowledge and wisdom, as well as superb interviews with those at the cutting edge of developing the circular economy.”

    Mark Miodownik, author of Stuff Matters and Liquid

    Materials and Sustainability contains vital clues to solve the most vexing puzzle of our age: meeting human needs with products that do not, by design, damage our health and destroy nature. It is highly readable, delightfully informative, and inspiring.”

    Wayne Visser, author of Thriving: The Breakthrough Movement to Regenerate Nature, Society, and the Economy

    “This book will help readers make connections between the complex web of our material world and systems that underpin modern life. It’s a catalyst for meaningful engagement with sustainability that unpacks confusing issues in a clear, insightful, and actionable way.”

    Sioban Imms, CMF writer and strategist

    “Despite my 26 years in packaging, this book reinforces that there is so much more to learn! Kudos to the authors for sharing their wisdom to help readers understand the history of materials, which is key to developing sustainable packaging options.”

    Cory Connors, Director of Sustainable Packaging, Orora Packaging Solution

    Materials and Sustainability lays out clearly, in terms that do not require detailed scientific knowledge, the abundance of materials that are available to manufacture 'everyday' products. This book helps designers, producers, consumers, and policymakers through that complex web of choices and points them toward greater sustainability.”

    David Newman, Chairman, European Bioeconomy Bureau