Material circularity and the role of the chemical sciences as a key enabler of a sustainable post-trash age

Research output: Journal contributionsScientific review articlesResearch


  • Stephen A. Matlin
  • Goverdhan Mehta
  • Henning Hopf
  • Alain Krief
  • Lisa Keßler
  • Klaus Kümmerer

Approaching material circularity through minimising waste is an essential component of strategies to secure sustainability of the planetary environment. Elaborations of the 3R waste hierarchy (reduce, reuse, recycle), including circular economy, ‘zero waste’ and zero discharge movements, signpost pathways towards overcoming the challenge. Potential technical solutions require major inputs from the chemical sciences, in strong cooperation with others, to deliver the material basis of sustainability. This must address not only the question of limited resources, but also the totality of consequences connected to massive material and product flows. Three examples, involving aluminium, plastics and textiles, explored using the systems-oriented concept map extension (SOCME) tool, illustrate the complexity of problems and need for integration of chemistry-based solutions into achieving a post-trash approach to sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100312
JournalSustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2020

    Research areas

  • Chemistry - Material circularity, Textiles, Waste, Systems-oriented concept map extension (SOCME)