Apart from regular waste, the linear production system also loses a lot of energy. This is especially true upstream – the early portion of the supply chain when resources are extracted, refined, and purified. For example, in aluminum production, upstream processes such as refining, smelting, and casting account for around 80% of energy consumed (and 67% of total costs incurred).
In the case of aluminum, recycling rates are high because of the energy cost saving potential. However, this is not the case for most other metals. Yet, energy loss is still a relevant concept for every production process because of our diminishing fossil fuel supply. Therefore, it is important to consider the cost of energy (losses) throughout a product’s lifetime, to manage unnecessary wastage of energy.