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Adapting to Change 2007 Series Workshop 5.

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Adapting to Change 2007 Series Workshop 5

A typical animal cell. Within the cytoplasm, the major organelles and cellular structures include: (1) nucleolus (2) nucleus (3) ribosome (4) vesicle (5) rough endoplasmicreticulum (6) Golgi apparatus (7) cytoskeleton (8) smooth endoplasmic reticulum (9) mitochondria (10) vacuole (11) cytosol (12) lysosome (13) centriole.

Industrial Ecology



Industrial Symbiosis

Jay Moynihan – Shawano County


What is Industrial Ecology?

How does it work?

Why is it important?


The big picture take away:

“Nature has all along yielded her flesh to humans.

First we took nature’s materials as food, fibers, and shelter.

Then we learned to extract raw materials from her biosphere to create our own synthetic materials.

Now Bios is yielding us her mind---we are taking her logic.”

Kevin Kelly, Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World. (1994)

“Waste is anything we produce that does not give value to our customers.”

Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, Inc.

Or, simply:


In nature, outside of the human realm,

“waste” does not exist.

waste equals food.

Waste, new toxins, and the growing scarcities we now face are the unintended consequences of our amazing success as a species over the last few thousand years. Nothing has had time to evolve to clean up after us.


Industrial Ecology is one of the tools that can be used in a market economy to take care of this problem.


Industrial Ecology:

The shifting of industrial process from linear (open loop) systems, in which resource and capital investments move through the system to become waste,


a closed loop system where wastes become inputs for new processes.


Hold it!

…resource and capital investments move through the system to become waste…?

We produce products too!


But nothing lasts forever

In fact, it’s the Law!

(The Second Law of Thermodynamics, actually.)

Everything made, eventually decays and becomes


Hence the rub...


Where did the idea “Industrial Ecology”, come from?

    • Similar to efficiency and waste reduction ideas first annunciated by Buckminster Fuller and his students while working under NASA contracts in the 1960’s.
    • The term “Industrial Ecology” was first introduced by Harry Zvi Evan at a seminar of the Economic Commission of Europe in Warsaw in 1973.
  • Fiodor Davitaya, a Georgian scientist, in 1977 stated an analogy relating industrial systems to natural systems .
  • “Nature operates without any waste products.
  • What is rejected by some organisms provides food for others. The organization of industry on this principle—with the waste products of some branches of industry providing raw material for others—means in effect using natural processes as a model, for in them the resolution of all arising contradictions is the motive force of progress.”
    • "Changes in the atmosphere and some problems of its protection“
    • F. Davitaya (1977) Pp. 99-110 in Society and the Environment, Progress Publishers.

Where did the idea “Industrial Ecology”, come from?

  • "why would not our industrial system behave like an ecosystem, where the wastes of a species may be resource to another species? Why would not the outputs of an industry be the inputs of another, thus reducing use of raw materials, pollution, and saving on waste treatment?”
  • Frosch, R.A.; Gallopoulos, N.E. (1989) "Strategies for Manufacturing" Scientific American 261:3, pp 144-152.
  • Industrial Ecology: An Environmental Agenda for Industry by Hardin Tibbs (1992)

Some of the systemic problems

  • Dealing with regulated waste is a direct cost to the business.
  • Un-regulated waste is an indirect cost to your employees, your customers, and you.
  • At best, waste is an inefficiency, a missed opportunity.
  • On a planet, resources are finite if not replenished via cycles.
  • An effect of waste and the effect of toxins there-in, is to systemically drive up the cost of feedstock, labor, and energy over time.
  • The resulting scarcity, or perception of scarcity, increases conflict.

Systemic Benefits

  • Does not externalize costs to society, your employees, you or your family
  • Increased efficiency
  • Decreased, or eliminated costs of dealing with regulation
  • Decreased site acquisition problem due to “NIMBY’s”
  • Preserves resources and can reduce conflict
  • Increases innovation in yours and other’s businesses
  • May give rise to new product lines or services
  • Reduces costs
  • Increases revenues

There are a number of steps in approaching Industrial Ecology projects. The best source of information I have found is:

Industrial Ecology


T. E. Graedel, B.R. Allenby, American Telephone and Telegraph Company, Prentice Hall, Inc. (2003)


And the excellent book from 2002, by William McDonough & Michael Braungart.

Cradle to Cradle:

Remaking the Way We Make Things.


RE Phasing in Industrial ecology

  • Analysis of current situation in light of following ultimate systemic goals:
  • Every molecule that enters a specific manufacturing process should leave that process as part of a saleable product.
  • Every erg of energy used in manufacture should produce a desired material transformation.
  • Industries should make minimum use of materials and energy in products, products, and services.
  • Industries should choose abundant, nontoxic materials when designing products.
  • Industries should get most of the needed materials through recycling streams (theirs or those of others) rather than through raw material extraction, even in the case of common materials.
  • p.297 Allenby/Gredel (1995)

RE Phasing in Industrial ecology

Analysis of current situation in light of following ultimate systemic goals:

6. Every process and product should be designed to preserve the embedded utility of the material used. An efficient way to accomplish this is goal is by designing modular equipment and by remanufacturing.

7. Every product should be designed so that it can be used to create other useful products at the end of its life.

8. Every industrial landholding or facility should be developed, constructed, or modified with attention to maintaining or improving local habitats and species diversity , and to minimizing impacts on local or regional resources.

9. Close interactions should be developed with materials suppliers, customers, and representatives of other industries, with the aim of developing cooperative ways of minimizing packaging and of recycling and reusing materials.

p.297 Allenby/Gredel (1995)




Life Cycle Stages, from The Ecology of Industry: Sectors and Linages. (1998) by the National Academy of Sciences.



About Kalunborg, Denmark

Lessons to be Learned (The Industrial Symbiosis at Kalundborg Denmark) (11/2006)

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