Materials production requires a large amount of energy use and is a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, producing approximately 25% of all anthropogenic CO emissions. It produces large volumes of waste both in production and at end-of-life disposal. More efficient use of materials could play a key role in achieving multiple environmental and economic benefits. Material efficiency entails the pursuit of technical strategies, business models, consumer preferences, and policy instruments that would lead to a substantial reduction in the production of new materials required to deliver well-being. Although many opportunities exist, material efficiency is not realized in practice to its full potential. We evaluate the potential for material efficiency improvement, highlight the drivers to realize material efficiency, and anticipate ways forward to realize the potential of dematerializing our lives and the economy to limit the impacts of climate change and remain on a sustainable development path.


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