Skip navigation
Hardcover | ISBN: 9780262072168 | 497 pp. | 6 x 9 in | May 2001
Paperback | $32.00 Short | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780262571487 | 497 pp. | 6 x 9 in | May 2001

Materials Matter

Toward a Sustainable Materials Policy


The products we purchase and use are assembled from a wide range of naturally occurring and manufactured materials. But too often we create hazards for the ecosystem and human health as we mine, process, distribute, use, and dispose of these materials. Until recently, most research has focused on the waste end of material cycles. This book argues that the safest and least costly point at which to avoid environmental damage is when materials are first designed and selected for use in industrial production.

Materials Matter presents convincing evidence that we can use fewer materials and eliminate the use of many toxic chemicals by focusing directly on material (chemical) use when products are designed. It also shows how manufacturers can save money by increasing the effectiveness of material use and reducing the use of toxic chemicals. It advocates new directions for the material sciences and government policies on materials. And it argues that manufacturers, suppliers, and customers need to set more socially responsible policies for products and services to achieve higher environmental and health goals.

About the Author

Ken Geiser is Professor Emeritus of Work Environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Founder and past Codirector of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, and the author of Materials Matter: Toward a Sustainable Materials Policy. One of the authors of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act, he was Director of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute for thirteen years.


"This book should be required reading for industrial designers, materials scientists, chemical engineers and environmental policy-makers everywhere." , Tim Jackson, Nature