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Copper flows in buildings, infrastructure and mobiles : a dynamic model and its application to Switzerland

  • During the last century, the consumption of materials for human needs increased by several orders of magnitude, even for non-renewable materials such as metals. Some data on annual consumption (input) and recycling/waste (output) can often be found in the federal statistics, but a clear picture of the main flows is missing. A dynamic material flow model is developed for the example of copper in Switzerland in order to simulate the relevant copper flows and stocks over the last 150 years. The model is calibrated using data from statistical and published sources as well as from interviews and measurements. A simulation of the current state (2000) is compared with data from other studies. The results show that Swiss consumption and losses areDuring the last century, the consumption of materials for human needs increased by several orders of magnitude, even for non-renewable materials such as metals. Some data on annual consumption (input) and recycling/waste (output) can often be found in the federal statistics, but a clear picture of the main flows is missing. A dynamic material flow model is developed for the example of copper in Switzerland in order to simulate the relevant copper flows and stocks over the last 150 years. The model is calibrated using data from statistical and published sources as well as from interviews and measurements. A simulation of the current state (2000) is compared with data from other studies. The results show that Swiss consumption and losses are both high, at a level of about 8 and 2 kg/(cap year), respectively, or about three times higher than the world average. The model gives an understanding of the flows and stocks and their interdependencies as a function of time. This is crucial for materials whose consumption dynamics are characterised by long lifetimes and hence for relating the current output to the input of the whole past. The model allows a comprehensive discussion of possible measures to reduce resource use and losses to the environment. While increasing the recycling reduces losses to landfill, only copper substitution can reduce the different losses to the environment, although with a time delay of the order of a lifetime.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Peer-Reviewed Article
Author:Hans-Peter Bader, Ruth Scheidegger, Dominic Wittmer, Thomas Lichtensteiger
Year of Publication:2011
Language:English
Source Title (English):Clean technologies and environmental policy
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10098-010-0278-4
Volume:13
Issue:1
First Page:87
Last Page:101
Dewey Decimal Classification:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften