With natural resources declining in both quantity and quality, the time has come to practice resource recovery. Materials, water and energy that are regarded as unproductive by one company can be turned into a business opportunity by another operating nearby.

What is industrial symbiosis?

The National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) defines industrial symbiosis as a resource efficiency approach where unused or residual resources (materials, energy, water, assets, logistics and expert knowledge) of one company are used by another. This results in mutual economic, social and environmental benefits. The principle behind industrial symbiosis is a simple one – instead of discarding or destroying surplus resources seen as ‘waste’ by one industry, resources are reallocated and input into other processes providing benefits to one or more other companies. Simply, industrial symbiosis challenges the industrial and business world to function in the same manner as a natural ecosystem, where nothing is wasted.

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