TABLE 1 National Material Metrics






Environmental Significance

Total per capita inputs

Metric tons/Capita

Aggregate consumption of all materials classes and individual material classes per capita

Benchmarking national resource use

Input composition

Fuel ratio


Consumption ratio for coal:oil:natural gas

CO2 emissions, cleanliness of the energy system

Nonrenewable organics ratio


Consumption quantity for nonrenewable organics/total hydrocarbon consumption

Petrochemical pollution, character of solid waste

Structural materials ratio


Consumption ratio of metals, ceramics, and polymers in all finished products and structures

Gross shifts in materials use, materials efficiency and cyclicity, mining and processing waste, energy use

Agricultural ratios


Consumption ratio of food to feed crops, rice and legume ratio to total agricultural produce

Land use, methane emissions, nitrogen fixation rates

Input intensities

Intensity of use

Million metric tons (MMT) of inputs/ $106 GDP

Material consumption quantity for selected input materials/ GDP in constant dollars

Relationship of resource use to economic activity

Agricultural intensity


Fertilizer, pesticide, and agricultural minerals consumption/Total crop production

Materials efficiency, eutrophication of water bodies, topsoil erosion, chemical dissipation


MMT of carbon inputs/$106 GDP

Carbon inputs/GDP in constant dollars

Relationship of carbon emissions to economic activity

Recycling indices

"Virginity" index


Consumption of all virgin materials/Total material inputs

Materials efficiency and cyclicity, mining and processing waste, energy use

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