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What is industrial symbiosis?

What is industrial symbiosis?

Have you heard of the term industrial symbiosis?

Symbiosis comes from the Greek term “cohabitation” where animals and/or plants interact in a co-existing network. It is a term used in nature, where everything has a place and function, and nothing goes to waste. 

When it comes to industrial symbiosis, it is used to describe how companies work together, under the principle of companies using other company's waste for their own production process, providing mutual benefit. This principle stimulates a sharing economy where waste is considered a resource, therefore reducing emissions and the need for new natural resources as energy. 

This model promotes economic growth engaging businesses in a network to foster eco-innovation, as well as generating environmental benefits. These are clearly seen in Kalundborg, Denmark. 

The partners in Kalundborg’s Symbiosis have been working together since 1960, their purpose was to create loops of technical or biological materials while minimizing the leakage and waste. They work together exchanging material, water, and energy streams which has resulted in the following combined benefits for the partners every year: 

  • Bottom-line savings of 24 million EUR
  • 14 million EUR socio-economic savings
  • 635,000 tons of CO2
  • 3,6 million m3 water
  • 100 GWh of energy
  • 87,000 tons of materials

If you want to learn more, go ahead and check it out yourself. (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/case-studies/effective-industrial-symbiosis)

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