A field of study and practice that focuses on how industry can be developed or restructured to reduce environmental burdens throughout the product life cycle (extraction, production, use, and disposal) and encompasses a variety of related areas of research and practice, including:
- Material and energy flow studies (“industrial metabolism”)
- Dematerialization and decarbonization
- Technological change and the environment
- Llife-cycle planning, design and assessment
- Design for the environment (“eco-design”)
- Extended producer responsibility (“product stewardship”)
- Eco-industrial parks (“industrial symbiosis”)
- Product-oriented environmental policy
In applying this perspective, companies seek to shift industrial processes from open loop systems that produce waste materials to closed loop systems where wastes become inputs for new processes.
An example of this term in action is the design of industrial processes with closed loop systems in which the wastes of one industry are the raw materials for another (see Kalundborg, Denmark).