Industrial symbiosis is a form of brokering to bring companies together in innovative collaborations, finding ways to use the waste from one as raw materials for another.

The word “symbiosis” is usually associated with relationships in nature, where two or more species exchange materials, energy, or information in a mutually beneficial manner.

Local or wider co-operation in industrial symbiosis can reduce the need for virgin raw material and waste disposal, thereby closing the material loop – a fundamental feature of the circular economy and a driver for green growth and eco-innovative solutions. It can also reduce emissions and energy use and create new revenue streams.

Currently, Europe has some EU support networks for industrial symbiosis and European Innovation Partnerships such as National Programmes (e.g. NISP (UK)), regional initiatives (e.g. Cleantech Östergötland (Sweden)) and Local initiatives (e.g. Kalundborg in Denmark).

However, in order to make industrial symbiosis a wide-spread commercial reality, more needs to be done to manage the flow of waste material from different sectors and industries, and there is still much to understand about:

  • environmental and societal impacts
  • harmonization of technologies, processes, policies
  • civil society engagement to a circular economy at EU level
  • waste resources information
  • waste treatment technologies
  • business models and coordination between value chain actors.

The FISSAC project will be working with stakeholders to understand these aspects and build a model and supporting systems that will endeavour to overcome current challenges.

FISSAC infographic