The Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) seeks to establish a circular economy for the goods economy through material and product design, recycling technology development, and reverse supply chain logistics.
Manufacturing systems have traditionally been based on a linear model. Raw materials are extracted from nature, manufactured into intermediate and then end-products, and finally disposed of in a landfill at the end of the product’s useful life. A circular economy provides opportunities to re-manufacture and reuse end-of-life consumer products instead of having them end up in a landfill. These activities can reduce landfill waste and decrease the lifetime energy cost and emissions of products across the manufacturing economy.
Building a circular economy can help increase industrial efficiency. Approximately 2% of total energy consumption in the United States is used to manufacture plastics, resins, and synthetic rubber, while the production of fossil-fuel-based plastics generates roughly 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. As such, supporting the circular economy across such industries presents a significant opportunity to improve energy use and reduce waste and emissions.
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