Domestic material consumption (DMC) is estimated to have been 6,069 thousand tons, or 16.7 tons per capita, for 2020. This value is 16% lower than the previous year. Between 2018 and 2019, material consumption in Iceland decreased by 18%. The EU regards DMC, and especially DMC per capita, to be a valuable measure of the amount of environmental stress from the economy. Updated accounts show that DMC per capita in Iceland is comparable with, or lower than, values in the other Nordic countries. Meanwhile, Iceland is somewhat higher than the average DMC per capita in the EU.

DMC is calculated as the total mass of imported goods plus materials extracted from the country's natural resources minus exports of matter. Domestic extractions include crops, hunting of wild animals, and the extraction of minerals used in construction projects such as road construction, building and other infrastructure. Economies which have concrete buildings and large port and road infrastructure can be expected to have high DMC values. This partly explains why the Nordic countries have higher values than the rest of Europe. Measurements of the mass of mined material are also inherently inaccurate. This can account for large fluctuations in material consumption between years.

Material flow accounts distinguish between whether the in- and outflows from the economy are in the form of raw materials, semi-finished materials (industrial goods) or finished goods (a consumer product or product that is used as it is). Materials are then grouped into parent and child categories, where the parent categories are minerals, bio-materials, metals and metal salts, waste materials, mineral oil materials, or other materials (mixtures of chemical classes). There is also an attempt to assess how much of the matter is returned to the surrounding environment as sewage or drainage water or in exhaust or other irreversible emissions (hereinafter referred to as domestic output).

Iceland's material flow for 2020 shows that more than half of the domestic extraction is non-metallic minerals and the rest is biomass. A large portion of the biomass extraction is returned back to nature as water. The amount of food waste has not been estimated to a satisfactory degree at this point.

Most of the imported metal ore to Iceland are metal oxides. Processing of this material releases the oxygen portion of the ore back to the environment. As a result, imports of metal ore are much greater than metal exports. The majority of the mass of imported finished goods to Iceland are fuels and coal. This material ends up in emissions into nature. The difference between the inflow and outflow for each material class (center column) is another measure of material consumption in the economy.

The data repositories have been updated and now cover the years 1990 to 2020. Tables that include experimental statistics associated with the material flow account have been updated.

Statistics