Sinks as limiting resources
The growth in material turnover is increasingly putting demands on the carrying capacity of the environment for substances which are released into water, soil and air. Despite intensified efforts to recycle products at the end of their life cycle and to reuse them as secondary raw materials, fractions of materials put into circulation are discharged into the environment by means of landfilling or by dissipative processes such as emissions, corrosion, wear, and weathering. The total substance flows on one hand, and the behavior and long-term effects of these substances on the environment on the other hand constitute the core focus of our research. The aim of the research group ‘Sink’ is to define the terms sink and final sink, to understand better their capacities and functions, and to answer the question whether the anthropogenic metabolism is ultimately limited by missing sink capacities.