Material flow accounts provide a basis for understanding the general relationships between production and consumption of materials and generation of waste and other undesirable residuals. Material flow accounts describe type and weight of natural resources and goods that are extracted, supplied or used in relation to production and consumption, etc. in the economy. In addition, the accounts give information about the quantities of residuals (waste and air emissions, etc.) from economic activities. The waste accounts show specifically where the different types of waste comes from and how the waste is treated.
Statistics Denmark publishes both overall and detailed material flow accounts.
The overall material flow accounts are of the EW-MFA, Economy-Wide Material Flow Accounts, type, which aims at providing a general picture of type and weight of the materials (natural resources and commodities) that are, on the one hand, recovered from nature or imported and, on the other hand, exported from Denmark. The accounts are available as a longer time series, and may immediately be used for international comparisons, since similar accounts are available for many other countries, for instance, all EU member countries.
A separate version of the overall material flow accounts shows the material flows as raw material equivalents, i.e. the amounts of raw materials, which are extracted in Denmark and other countries for the production of the goods and services imported, exported and consumed etc. The assessment takes into account the full production chain behind each product and service. The estimates of the products’ footprints are based on a model and are available as time series from the year 2008.
The detailed material flow accounts builds upon the overall accounts, but adds information about material flows that take place within the economy, i.e. between industries and between industries and households, etc. In addition, data from other areas of the environmental-economic accounts, e.g. data on energy production and use, emissions to air as well as waste, are included in the detailed material flow accounts. It makes it possible to show balances for the materials used by an industry (input) and the materials that result from the industry’s activities (output). Detailed material flow accounts are also known as physical supply-use tables. So far, the detailed material flow accounts are available only for reference year 2016.
A set of separate waste accounts is also published. The waste accounts show how much waste that are generated in households and different industries with an allocation on types of waste and waste treatment forms. Thus, it is possible, for instance, to see how much of the waste that are recycled. Also imports and exports of waste are included.
The accounts for material flows and waste are parts of the environmental-economic accounts. They are instrumental for the analysis of various aspects of circular economy and whether there is a movement towards increased resource efficiency, where industries generate more value added and less waste from the materials they use.
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