arising from resource depletion and environmental degradation, what he envisioned was a "globally sustainable industrial society."
In fact, Towards a Recycle Society in the 21stCentury (JEA, 1991) conceptualized a simple model of the recycle society (Figure 1). In this society, well-designed technical and economic mechanisms encourage industry and the public to seize every opportunity to recover, recycle, and reuse materials and energy as much as is thermodynamically feasible. Simultaneous frugal use and environmentally preferable selection of materials and energy sources lower the overall environmental load resulting from human activities to ensure local, regional, and global sustainable development.
In reality, however, the current economic growth of industrialized nations can hardly be characterized as environmentally sustainable. For example, the fiscal year (FY) 1990 material balance for Japan (Figure 2) shows that only 10 percent of the more than 2 billion metric tons of virgin natural resources used is recycled. The average Japanese consumes 46 times more natural resources than an Indonesian. Consumption of the world's commercial energy resources illustrates the point further. In 1990, industrialized nations, with about 22 percent of the world population, consumed about 82 percent of the world's commercial energy, which was 8.1 billion metric tons of oil equivalent (Tolba and El-Kholy, 1992). This means that, on average, a person living in a high-income country consumes 16.2 times more energy than a person living in a developing nation.
From an industrial ecology perspective, the current industrialized society, popularly referred to as the "throw-away" or "mass production, mass consumption, mass discard" society in Japan, is indeed well characterized by linear flows