I1: Non-renewable materials intensity of inputs

 

Calculation

I1: Non-renewable materials intensity =

Weight of non-renewable resources consumed / Normalisation factor

Units of the indicator: tonnes/normalisation factor

 

Why this indicator is important

Non-renewable resources, by definition, are finite. Although the supply of some resources such as iron ore, silver and copper are high relative to production, other metals and minerals are considered critical due to high risks of maintaining supply or a high impact on the economy if the supply were reduced. Some of the more critical minerals include: rare earths, rhodium, platinum and manganese.

Furthermore, whether or not non-renewable materials are critical, extracting, processing and transporting them consumes energy, generates residuals and discharges them to the air, water and land, and may disrupt ecosystems.

Most non-renewable materials will end up as part of the product itself (see Indicator P4 – Non-renewable materials intensity of products) but some may also be waste. Therefore, it is important to account for the non-renewable materials at the input stage.

This indicator measures the non-renewable materials intensity of the facility relative to a normalisation factor of your choice. It does not include water or fuels as non-renewable materials since they are accounted in other indicators.


Interpretation

As with the other intensity indicators, it is important to monitor this relative to the total non-renewable materials consumption to ensure that intensity decreases sufficiently to also reduce overall consumption.
The detailed data will show which materials, processes and products contribute most to the overall indicator. It may be possible to reduce the consumption of some of the main contributors by: reducing amounts sent to scrap, substituting with renewable materials (such as bioplastics) or redesigning the product to use less of the materials.


Related issues

Metals and minerals sometimes have a high resale (or scrap) value and are therefore recovered and recycled. However, this indicator tracks their initial consumption and is not adjusted for recycling or reuse within the facility. If the materials used have already been recycled, this should be evident in the indicator of the proportion of recycled materials (Indicator I3).

Extending the lifetime of products (see Indicator P4: Non-renewable materials intensity of products) is one approach to reducing the need for non-renewable materials. This would not, however, have a direct impact on this indicator but could affect production levels and product prices.