Material Flows Cycle

Material Flows Cycle

Source: adapted from USGS Fact Sheet FS-068-98, June 1998.

Supply chains are part of a complex material flows cycle that starts with the extractions of renewable and nonrenewable resources which then become part of the resource supply system. Through a forward logistics process, these resources are transformed by the manufacturing sector to become final consumption goods. All the processes of forward logistics are generating wastes and discards that enter the reverse logistics cycle. What can be recycled will reenter the resource supply cycle while what remains will be put into a sink, most commonly a landfill. The concept of the circular economy tries to establish sourcing, manufacturing and distribution strategies that limit discarded goods and parts.