The reading defines Industrial symbiosis as “a relationship between two or more firms that exchange their waste (materials – energy – water), as feedstock for the production process.” This is in an attempt to prevent pollution and promote practices of recycling and reusing materials creating little to no waste. The companies that create an Industrial symbiosis relationship form an Industrial ecosystem, which is then divided by either Eco-Industrial Parks or Eco-Industrial Networks.
Within the past few years there have been many studies that have found that certain types of waste through various levels of eco-friendly industrial networks have some limitations. These limitations occur along the lines of physical aspects, how and where things are located, the cost, and of course the impact on the environment. This paper describes and focuses on these limitations specifically in terms of where things are located. The paper identifies that there are seven categories waste is separated into by the physical characteristics, these categories include: thermal energy, fuels, metals,
plastics, chemicals, minerals and organics. Waste is also divided by the spatial scale by: Industrial Park (IP), Local (LOC), Regional (REG), National (NAT) and Global (GLO).
The case studies of Greeks industrial symbiosis was documented through: “research in the archives of ministry economy”, “personal professional experience of the author in the field of environmental industrial controls”, and “through contacts and interviews with administrators of the majority of Industrial Parks in Greece as well as with executives of various businesses.” In Greece trucks are generally used as transportation to dispute waste within the country and ships were used for any waste abroad. This transportation cost is generally low, however its environmental benefit is to be determined.
Understanding and considering the spatial scale, along with its various factors, is crucial when studying industrial symbiosis. The limited number of partnerships between companies can be attributed to barriers that firms face. It is important to explore new developments in eco-industrial networks and conduct further research on the specific conditions related to the spatial scale of industrial networks.This case study solidifies the idea that spatial conditions have a huge impact on whether industrial symbiosis can take place.
During our Green Supply Chain Management Lectures, we were able to hear from 2 guest speakers, one from the US embassy and one who works in sustainability at the American college of Greece. They were both interesting and very unique, and made me feel immersed in the business economy of Greece. For the first one revolving around sustainability on campus, she discussed how these practices have come to fruition over the past few years, and how both faculty and students have taken positive steps toward sustainability on campus. One point she made that I found interesting was about the reusable water bottles. She said students recently have been carrying them around more, and just filling up at the water bottle refilling stations around campus when need be. She made the connection that reusable water bottles have been popular in the states for some time, and that this being an American college in Greece, its almost as if the American students have started a “trend” towards reusable water bottles. She said for a while, and many people still do just buy plastic water bottles from the store then throw them away when they’re done. This made sense to me because when grocery shopping, I noticed how cheap these plastic water bottles were. They were less than or around 50 cents a bottle. Meaning there isn’t much of a financial incentive to reusable water bottles, which doesn’t necessarily help this transition. But by outsiders coming in and showing a new way of doing things, practices have started to change on campus.
Our second guest speaker came from the US embassy. I really enjoyed hearing the three women talk, because it is a field that me and many others could pursue, but maybe haven’t heard much about. Being an ambassador is a very unique lifestyle that is vastly different from what I grew up with, which made it very interesting to hear from them. Being someone who grew up in the same house her whole life, and never moved until college, and didn’t even leave the country until 2023, I can’t even imagine moving every 4 years to a different foreign country. Additionally, I hadn’t considered the business aspect of a job like that. From my prior (and brief) understanding of ambassadors, it seemed like they dealt more with governmental and policy issues, as opposed to business. So it was interesting to hear how she implements American products and chains into Greek culture. I also found it cool to hear about her experiences working with the president. While I knew it must be a lot of work to invite the President of the United States, who knew they had to even rehearse angles for pictures, and everything down to the glass of his hotel room had to be perfect. Overall I really enjoyed hearing from them, and learning about a new perspective, that I hadn’t quite considered yet.
Industrial symbiosis is the association of multiple firms whose waste becomes raw materials to benefit one of the other firms. These firms exist within an industrial ecosystem, which is comprised of two sections including eco-industrial parks and eco-industrial networks. When looking at the case studies of industrial symbiosis in Greece specifically, almost all of the cases at the industrial park’s spatial scale have been recorded. A more thorough look into the studies to try to zero in on the number of cases that were actively participating in industrial symbiosis and where the waste exchange was most common. Of the total cases, a very small number of them were identified at the industrial park scale. This is thought to be lower because of the decreased number of industrial parks present in the country coupled with the business and industrial industries usually not present in IPs. Still, the number of industrial parks lessens in Greece when looking at the businesses present. A little more than half of them are open and operating as the rest are under construction, haven’t been set up, or have other barriers to business. Looking at the small number of partnerships, it is clear that many can still be made with firms that are fully functional and are able to enter an agreement that can be beneficial to both sides. A large barrier to partnerships is the spacial allocation of the eco-industrial networks, distinguishing between whether the area is an industrial park or is local on the scale can be met with overlap. In fact, when looking at a distribution of spatial scales from case studies, local was six times the number of IP cases. As many times they are grouped together IP and local combined counted for the highest number of case studies in comparison to regional, national, and global. An interpretation of this provided the fact that certain types of waste are transported through the smallest spacial scales while others are saved for the larger regions. The spatial scale and all that it encompasses are very important to look out for and consider when studying industrial symbiosis. Barriers to partnerships of firms are factors as to why there are a low number of relationships between companies that could be beneficial. New developments with eco-industrial networks need to be explored as well as a deeper dive into the specific conditions that surround the industrial park’s spatial scale.