Industrial Symbiosis

From my understanding, industrial symbiosis refers to the networks created in the process of reuse and recycling. So basically, companies or industries will create their product, and whatever is leftover and deemed useless to them, is sold to another company or industry to be reused/recycled. I feel like this is something that should be implemented on a widespread scale, because corporate waste is a major issue in terms of environmental problems, so if waste were to be reduced significantly, maybe we would see the effects of climate change be reduced. This reminds me of what we talked about in class, in terms of closed loop supply chain management, wherein the product life cycle doesn’t end, it just moves on to the next step. It kind of reminds me of the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I feel like the idea of recycling and reusing products has been at the forefront of the environmental movement for some time now, and has been ingrained in at least my head, from a young age. But in practice, you have to wonder if it is really this catch all solution for climate change, like we are made to believe. Recent research has suggested that there are more factors to networks than what we see on the surface, with some physical, spatial, economic, and environmental constraints presenting issues with this process. 


This paper in particular chooses to focus on the spatial aspect of industrial symbiosis. With that, it appears that a regional scale is best fit in terms of spatial awareness. While others disagree citing there can be no preferred scale when it comes to creating eco-industrial networks. The spatial issue has been researched very narrowly when compared to other aspects mentioned earlier. In Greece, their spatial scale tends to remain small, often operating at the lowest level, around local. It is not quite so often that the Greeks engage in global industrial symbiosis, however when practiced it is still able to be profitable thanks to the inexpensive nature of shipping cargo. Having less global cases makes sense to me considering you are basically shipping scraps, it would make the most sense to exchange locally or on a smaller scale, as opposed to going through the trouble of shipping. With that being said, there are certain products that are exclusively shipped at the local level, due to a variety of factors. For example superheated water isn’t shipped long distances to avoid heat loss.