Necessity and inefficiency in the generation of waste: a thermodynamic analysis

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


The laws of thermodynamics are employed as an analytical framework within which results about society's metabolism may be rigorously deduced in energetic and material terms. We demonstrate that the occurrence of waste is an unavoidable necessity in the industrial production of desired goods. Although waste is thus an essential qualitative element of industrial production, the quantitative extent to which waste occurs may vary within certain limits according to the degree of thermodynamic (in) efficiency with which these processes are operated. We discuss the question of which proportion of the amount of waste currently generated is due to thermodynamic necessity and which proportion is due to thermodynamic inefficiency.
ZeitschriftJournal of Industrial Ecology
Seiten (von - bis)113-123
Anzahl der Seiten11
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 04.2003
Extern publiziertJa