It is vital to find reasons for differences in the results of environmental input‐output (EIO), physical input‐output (PIO), and hybrid input‐output (HIO) models for industrial and environmental policy analysis. Using EIO, PIO, and HIO models, China's industrial metabolism is calculated. Four reasons were found to account for differences in the results of analysis using EIO, PIO, and HIO models: the manner in which they deal with residential consumption, service sectors, and waste recycling, and the assumption of unique sector prices. The HIO model, which treats residential consumption as sectors of the intermediate delivery matrix, is preferred to the EIO and PIO models for analyzing industrial and environmental policies. Moreover, waste recycling in five sectors—agriculture; the manufacture of paper, printing, and articles for culture, education, and sports activities; the manufacture of nonmetallic mineral products; smelting and pressing of metals; and construction—should be comprehensively considered when using the HIO model to study problems related to these five sectors. Improvements in the EIO, PIO, and HIO models and future work are also discussed.