Turning Engineers Into Resource Accountants

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Science  30 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5428, pp. 685-686
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5428.685

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A new discipline is trying to persuade companies that tracking the flow of materials and energy over a product's lifetime makes good business sense. The philosophy has begun to pay off--mainly in Europe--in everything from appliances designed with reusable parts to schemes for capturing precious metals that may otherwise end up in landfills or riverbeds. However, a cradle-to-grave approach to doing business hasn't yet caught fire in the United States.