Behind Europe’s quest to scale industrial symbiosis

Can an industrial system be retooled to produce zero waste?

The European Union recently has heavily invested in answering that question, funding a host of projects aimed at circularizing resource and energy flows across the continent. These projects center around promoting the practice of industrial symbiosis, a method of cooperation in which the wastes from one firm’s processes become the raw materials for another firm. Industrial symbiosis also can involve sharing infrastructure, services, logistics and other operational processes in a mutually beneficial relationship for both companies.

One EU project worth particular attention is SCALER (Scaling European Resources), an initiative aimed at facilitating the growth of industrial symbiosis in process industries across Europe. Over the next 2.5 years, the project aims to assess 1,000 potential industrial synergies, to support 30 regions in transitioning to industrial symbiosis practices and to reach 500 industrial sites.