Industrial Symbiosis: A Hidden Opportunity

05/21/2014 |


Not convinced that your building’s trash could turn a profit?

A new study by Concordia University researcher Raymond Paquin, published in Long Range Planning, shows that industrial symbiosis (IS) is essential to a company’s environmental efforts and can even drive profits.

An example of IS is marmite. Made from a by-product of commercial beer production, the yeast-based spread has topped toast throughout the Commonwealth for decades. By recuperating the waste product from one company, another was able to thrive.

“Companies have to think beyond their traditional business focus for IS to be a success,” he says. “But it is well worth their time, both economically and environmentally,”

According to Paquin, the additional business generated through IS exchanges has even allowed many companies to expand, hiring more employees and developing new arms to manage these transactions.

Although IS is not yet a common practice in North America — unlike in the U.K., where landfills are close to capacity — Paquin believes that this will soon change.

“As this research shows, industrial symbiosis is a proven approach for companies seeking to economically reduce their landfill and other environmental impacts.”

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