The Material Footprint of private households in Germany: Linking the natural resource use and socioeconomic characteristics of users from an online footprint calculator in Germany

Footprint calculators are efficient tools to monitor the environmental impact of private consumption. We present the results of an analysis of data entered into an online Material Footprint calculator undertaken to identify the socioeconomic drivers of the Material Footprint in different areas of consumption, from housing to holidaymaking. We developed regression models to reveal (1) the impact of socioeconomic characteristics on Material Footprints of private households and (2) correlations between the components of Material Footprints for different arrays of consumption. Our results show that an increasing Material Footprint in one array of consumption comes with an increasing Material Footprint in all other arrays, with the exception of housing and holidaymaking. The socioeconomic characteristics of users have a significant impact on their Material Footprints. However, this impact varies by the array of consumption. Households only exhibit generally bigger Material Footprints as a result of higher incomes and larger dwellings. We conclude that indicators which strive to monitor resource efficiency should survey disaggregated data in order to classify the resource use to different population groups and arrays of consumption.