Resource efficiency is mainly about managing raw materials, energy and water in order to minimize waste and reduce the cost of production.
Efficient use requires careful consideration of the whole life cycle of a given resource. Fabrication of a product with minimal use of resources involves: Reducing raw material use, reusing materials from other processes, recycling products into new products and repairing products instead of substituting them for new ones. To be effective, such considerations must be built into industrial processes and the life cycle planning of a product.
In energy production as well, resource efficiency is becoming of increasing importance. Especially when it comes to the non-renewable, fossil fuel sources, it is vital to maximize utilization rates, as supplies dwindle and demands to reduce emissions increase.
When done properly, resource efficiency can be a relatively cheap and fast way to reduce the amount of waste, the cost of any subsequent treatment process and disposal costs. The reuse of resources can also save companies money, because they will need to buy less new resources, if they can efficiently use the resources they already have in their processes. Regulations and diminishing natural resources will increase the incentive to use resources even more efficiently in the future.
Denmark has not had the good luck of plentiful natural resources nor much space for waste disposal. This means that Denmark and Danish companies have been accustomed to resource efficiency from the very start. It is simply the way things are done here. As resources start to dwindle, other nations may benefit from the expertise Danish companies have accumulated over the years.