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Ecological Rucksack for Steel in Singapore: An Indicator Approach for Resource Efficiency Policies

Authors:

Abstract

The steel rucksack study in Singapore is advocating resource efficiency through establishing resource input indicators. The indicator considered here is ecological rucksack. The ecological rucksack for apparent consumption for 1 ton of primary and secondary steel in Singapore were calculated, and then compared. This comparison helps us to find the scale (quantity) of dematerialization achieved in terms of abiotic, water and air resources, in the case of replacing 1 ton of primary steel with secondary steel in Singapore. An empirical analysis of 5 years between 2005-2009 was performed. The obtained rucksack results were compared with the steel rucksack in Germany, followed by an analysis of factors behind rucksack difference between Singapore and Germany. Finally two resource policy approaches, a outcome of MaRess research in Germany(MaRess,2010), are being tried for Singapore. One deals with applying a dynamic labeling standard for building materials (in this case finished steel products) in Singapore. This labeling standard mandates a required composition of the final output being the recycled steel. The other approach is applying a resource tax for building materials. In this case, a 2SGD would be applied as a primary construction material tax for primary steel.
ECOLOGICAL RUCKSACK FOR STEEL IN SINGAPORE: AN INDICATOR APPROACH
FOR RESOURCE EFFICIENCY POLICIES:
Maghimai Marcus Arul Raj, M.Sc Environmental Management, National University of
Singapore, maghimaimarcus@gmail.com, Ph: +65 81851949
1. Introduction
1.a Resource efficiency in the carbon constrained world:
The focus on climate change has unanimously turned the global attention towards carbon
emissions. However, carbon footprint alone cannot provide the kind of environmentally sustainable
solutions that the world is looking for. On the other hand, there has been a growing influence on the
concept of dematerialization. The resource input oriented dematerialization efforts look at physical
scarcity exclusively on raw materials and their environmental impacts, encouraging the substitution
of non renewable with renewable resources, and above all ,they are aimed at closing the material
loop through recycling and other resource efficiency efforts , thus benefitting economy, environment
and society on the whole(Bartelmus et al,2001).
1.b Uncertainties in resource use approaches:
It is widely recognized that indicators are an essential part of advocating sustainability
quantitatively and also forms the basis for framing qualitative policies, for e.g. carbon footprint and
climate change policies. Unlike climate change policies, resource efficiency policies (aimed at
dematerialization) are not globally advocated. One key reason would be the non-availability of
country wise data on resource input indicators (e.g. ecological rucksack, MIPS) to back those policies
with qualitative figures. Another reason would be lack of studies that illustrate the interrelationship
between resource efficiency indicators and policies. The latter case is necessary to establish trade-offs,
direct and indirect impacts, and synergy between key environmental factors (nature capital) such as
raw material, water and land.
2. Steel rucksack study in Singapore:
The steel rucksack study in Singapore is one such effort of advocating resource efficiency
through establishing resource input indicators. The indicator considered here is ecological rucksack.
The ecological rucksack for apparent consumption for 1 ton of primary and secondary steel in
Singapore were calculated, and then compared. This comparison helps us to find the scale (quantity)
of dematerialization achieved in terms of abiotic, water and air resources, in the case of replacing 1
ton of primary steel with secondary steel in Singapore. An empirical analysis of 5 years between
2005-2009 was performed. The obtained rucksack results were compared with the steel rucksack in
Germany, followed by an analysis of factors behind rucksack difference between Singapore and
Germany.
Finally two resource policy approaches, a outcome of MaRess research in
Germany(MaRess,2010), are being tried for Singapore. One deals with applying a dynamic labeling
standard for building materials (in this case finished steel products) in Singapore. This labeling
standard mandates a required composition of the final output being the recycled steel. The other
approach is applying a resource tax for building materials. In this case, a 2SGD would be applied as a
primary construction material tax for primary steel. As in the MaRess Task 5 outcome for Germany,
an increase of 5% per annum is observed for the next consecutive five years for Singapore, which is
up to 2015. Of the two policy approaches mentioned above, only the dynamic labeling standard has
been applied so far and the results would be discussed later in this abstract. The resource tax approach
is not yet completed. In the case of being selected for the conference, it would be updated in a couple
of weeks.
3. Methodology:
The total quantity (kg) of natural resources required to generate a product-counted
from the cradle to the point when the product is ready for use - minus the weight (kg) of the product
itself is called Ecological Rucksack (Schmidt-Bleek, 1994).Among the five different rucksacks such
as water, air, soil, renewable biomass, and non renewable (abiotic) materials(Schmidt-Bleek,1998),
only 3 key factors abiotic, water and air are considered for this study.
The basic methodology for calculating rucksack was standardized by Rithoff et al, (2002).
According to the method, initially the system boundaries are defined, followed by a definition of cut-
off criteria. Establishment of cut-off criteria helps to neglect some pre-process chains that have
negligible influence on the final results.
Rucksack calculation for steel in Singapore involves the calculation of material input for
components involved in various process of steel making. Towards calculating rucksack for steel in
Singapore, we have decided to calculate the rucksack for electricity generation in Singapore.
Electricity constitute around 8-10% of the total rucksack of primary steel and 70-80% in secondary
steel making ( Merten et al.,1995). As Singapore does not produce primary steel and produce only the
secondary steel, rucksack for electricity generation in Singapore has become an important factor for
steel rucksack.
Boundary for Simple steel:
The boundary for the production of finished steel includes extraction of raw iron ore until the
production of simple steel through Basic Oxygen Furnace. The boundary is assumed to be global
since Singapore does not have Basic Oxygen Furnace to produce primary steel. The steel products are
transported from global nations (exporting countries)to Singapore and, finally consumed in Singapore.
The imports accounted for almost 90% of the total consumption of the finished steel in
2005(SEAISI,2006 ). It is unclear that whether the remaining 10% is recycled or manufactured. So,
we assumed that Singapore imports all of its simple steel for this study.
Singapore imported 33348 tons of semi-finished steel, which includes Ferro alloys, ingots and
semi-finished products, and it produced 587000 tons of finished products. The import of semi-finished
steel is just 5% of the production of the finished products . It is apparent that imported semi-finished
products or steel scraps are negligible when compared to manufactured finished products; therefore
the semi-finished products and the steel scraps available for making finished products must come
from local source after their end use through recycling. So, we made an assumption that all the
locally produced finished steel products are secondary steel for this study
4. Results:
1. Use of secondary steel consumes just 4% of the abiotic(non-renewable) resource consumption
of simple steel in Singapore. Comparatively water usage is reduced up to 10 times and air
consumption by 2 times for secondary steel.
2. An overall empirical analysis of the steel rucksack between 2005 and 2009 reveals that
rucksack for primary is reduced by almost 8-11% for all the three categories in 2009
compared to 2005. Similarly for secondary steel it has been reduced around 17% for all the
three categories. The reduction in rucksack can be explained by reduction in steel demand and
supply in Singapore due to global economic depression during the year 2008-2009.
3. Compared to Germany, the secondary steel in Singapore consumes only one-fourth of the
resources (abiotic, water and air). This can be explained by the low rucksack of electricity in
Singapore, which is predominated by natural gas and oil. In addition, the transport distance
of fuel supply for Singapore plays an important factor, since it is far less compared to
Germany. ( Singapore’s electricity has 80% of natural gas and it imports mainly from
Indonesia and Malaysia at a distance of 300-500km compared to Germany whose transport
distance ranges from 1000-24000km).
4. Policy approach: The dynamic labeling standard has an hypothetical condition of 50%
increase of recycled steel in the finished steel products. The scenarios are evaluated between
2005 and 2009. The results indicate that, in 2009 , around 1/3rd of abiotic , water and air
resources were saved than business- as- usual scenario. If the recycled steel are calculated for
substitution for primary steel, this would save around 20% of the primary steel import in
Singapore, a significant share of construction GDP , Singapore.
5. Conclusion:
This study illustrates that like climate change policies, resource efficiency policies can be
implemented effectively with substantial benefit for environment and economy. As recent studies
suggest a comprehensive indicator set comprising both input and output indicators ( resource use
and emission indicators) (Burger et al.,2009) would be a suitable fit for environmental
sustainability , both climate policy and resource policy can be correlated in an integrated
framework overcoming uncertainties in the years ahead.
References:
Bartelmus,P., Brigezu, S., & Moll,S.(2001). Dematerialization, Environment Accounting
and Resource Management- main issues and how they can be translated into public policy
inititatives. See
onlinehttp://ec.europa.eu/environment/enveco/waste/pdf/demat_resource_man.pdf
MaRess(Material Efficiency and Resource Conservation),(2010). Quantitative and
qualitative effects of a forced resource efficiency strategy:Summary report of Task 5. See
onlinewww.ressourcen.wupperinst.org
Ritthoff M., H. Rohn, C. Liedtke & T. Merten (2002). Calculating MIPS: resource
productivity of products and services. Wuppertal Special 27. Available from,
http://www.wupperinst.org/uploads/ tx_wibeitrag/ws27e.pdf (accessed on Jan 20, 2011)
South East Asian Iron and Steel Institute (SEAISI),(2006) , 2006 steel statistical
yearbook, Malaysia
Thomas Merten, Christa Liedtke, Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek: Materialintensitätsanalysen
von Grund-, Werk- und Baustoffen. Die Werkstoffe Beton und Stahl. Materialintensitäten
von Freileitungsmasten. Wuppertal Institut, Wuppertal Papers Nr. 27, 1995.
-
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Full-text available
This manual sets out to be an instruction guide for the implementation of analyses according to the MIPS concept. MIPS stands for Material Input Per Service unit, a measure developed at the Wuppertal Institute, which serves as an indicator of precautionary environmental protection. However, this publication is not a comprehensive description of the methods used, but should rather be seen as supplementing existing publications, in particular, the MAIA Handbook. This practical guide contains additional information, which cannot be part of a methodological description, but which is indispensable for the practical work. This manual is directed at enterprises and persons, who wish to carry out MIPS or a material analysis in relation to products or services. It gives a general impression of what MIPS is, and how MIPS is calculated. -- Dieser Leitfaden will eine Praxisanleitung zur Durchführung von Analysen nach dem MIPS-Konzept sein. MIPS steht für Material-Input Pro Serviceeinheit, einem Maß, das am Wuppertal Institut entwickelt wurde und einen Indikator des vorsorgenden Umweltschutzes darstellt. Diese Praxisanleitung ist keine umfassende Methodenbeschreibung, sondern vielmehr als Ergänzung zu den bestehenden Veröffentlichungen, insbesondere zum MAIA-Handbuch, zu verstehen. Die vorliegende Praxisanleitung enthält zusätzliche Informationen, die nicht Bestandteil einer Methodenbeschreibung sein können, jedoch für die praktische Arbeit unerlässlich sind. Dieser Leitfaden richtet sich an Unternehmen und Personen, die produkt- oder dienstleistungsbezogene MIPS- oder Material-Input(MI)-Analysen durchführen wollen, und gibt einen generellen Überblick darüber, was MIPS ist und wie MIPS gerechnet wird.
addition, the transport distance of fuel supply for Singapore plays an important factor, since it is far less compared to Germany. ( Singapore's electricity has 80% of natural gas and it imports mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia at a distance of 300
  • Singapore
Singapore, which is predominated by natural gas and oil. In addition, the transport distance of fuel supply for Singapore plays an important factor, since it is far less compared to Germany. ( Singapore's electricity has 80% of natural gas and it imports mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia at a distance of 300-500km compared to Germany whose transport distance ranges from 1000-24000km).
Dematerialization, Environment Accounting and Resource Management-main issues and how they can be translated into public policy inititatives
  • P Bartelmus
  • S Brigezu
  • S Moll
Bartelmus,P., Brigezu, S., & Moll,S.(2001). Dematerialization, Environment Accounting and Resource Management-main issues and how they can be translated into public policy inititatives. See onlinehttp://ec.europa.eu/environment/enveco/waste/pdf/demat_resource_man.pdf
Quantitative and qualitative effects of a forced resource efficiency strategy:Summary report of Task 5
  • Maress
MaRess(Material Efficiency and Resource Conservation),(2010). Quantitative and qualitative effects of a forced resource efficiency strategy:Summary report of Task 5. See onlinewww.ressourcen.wupperinst.org
  • Thomas Merten
  • Christa Liedtke
  • Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek
Thomas Merten, Christa Liedtke, Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek: Materialintensitätsanalysen von Grund-, Werk-und Baustoffen. Die Werkstoffe Beton und Stahl. Materialintensitäten von Freileitungsmasten. Wuppertal Institut, Wuppertal Papers Nr. 27, 1995. -