Sunday, December 23, 2012

Raw material useage in US is up 17-fold since 1900

In 2010, the US used 2,570 million metric tons of raw materials (agriculture, forestry, metals and minerals, and nonrenewable organics), compared to 144 million tons in 1900, a more than 17-fold (1785%) increase.  The USGS updated its raw materials inventory in a fact sheet that shows annual usage for the past 111 years.

It's interesting to note that recycled metals total 70.5 million tons now vs none in 1900, while primary metal production is up only about 8 times to 85.4 million tons.

Industrial mineral usage is up by a factor of 27 times, while construction materials overall are up nearly 34 times.

The only material that decreased is wood.

Ref: Matos, G.R., 2012, Use of raw materials in the United States from 1900 through 2010: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2012-3140, 7 p., available only at (Supersedes Fact Sheet 2009–3008.)

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