Material/Less material

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Recycling is likely to become far more widespread than it is now, reducing the burden of having to process new material to create goods and infrastructure. Product design and engineering is likely to become increasingly sympathetic to the recycling process which is becoming more automated as time goes on. It is possible that recycling could become so efficient, that a tiny percentage of industrial feedstock actually come fresh from the ground.

After decades of using landfill sites, these may also become a viable source of already concentrated useful material such as plastics, metals and methane.

Another possibility is that carbon could be harvested directly from the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon and carbon-based compounds can have many useful properties such as very high strength-to-weight ratios and very low electrical resistance. Reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere also helps mitigate the effects of global warming, however staggeringly vast quantities would have to be removed to have any significant effect on climate change. However trees do exactly this, extracting billions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere to create wood. Of course it would be far more sensible to collect the carbon at the source of emissions than waiting until it has dissipated into the atmosphere before collection.