The studies about sustainable manufacturing engineering (SME) contain an increasing body of knowledge, motivated by the rising interest in the processes lifecycle sustainability. Its continuous improvement and optimization (including sustainability criteria) has become an emerging necessity. For this reason, new clean technologies and proposals of work methods are required; they have to integrate the ecological and social dimensions at an operational level in the manufacturing processes, maintaining the economic and technical feasibility attained up to this moment. However, a unified framework does not exist to orientate the lines of research in optimization when applied to sustainability. In this sense, the article reviews studies from scientific literature about sustainable machining developed in the last 15 years. The review has been carried out from the triple bottom-line (TBL) perspective, defined by the three general sustainability dimensions (economy, ecology, and equity). It contributes to the literature and current machining engineering knowledge, with its involvement in mitigating the metabolic rift. The results from the review have allowed to characterize the investigation effort, with regard to the optimization of the sustainable machining processes; even though numerous studies exist which optimize machining operations (with the aim to find the trade-off between different environmental and equity factors), in general, the technical and economic feasibilities are still the priority. The patterns defined through the analysis of the publications have established the current development trend; furthermore, as a consequence of the review results, we propose an outline of articulated lines of investigation with the aim to mitigate the metabolic rift through triple bottom-line, necessary so that machining engineering assumes the goal of finding the balance to achieve integral sustainability.