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Industrial symbiosis: testing the boundaries and advancing knowledge.

Lombardi, D. Rachel; Lyons, Donald; Shi, Han; Agarwal, Abhishek


D. Rachel Lombardi

Donald Lyons

Han Shi

Abhishek Agarwal


The idea of industry finding uses for non-product outputs (by-products and waste) is not a new one (Desrochers 2000). Local context and incentives changed in the 20th century, however, and the practice fell out of favor due to cheap and abundant energy, resources and disposal options, subsidies that discouraged recycling, and regulations preventing re-use (Desrochers 2004). As the sustainable development agenda gained ground, other concerns led firms and governments to reconsider their strategies: increasing waste disposal costs, concerns over environmental degradation accompanied by stricter environmental regulations, and a growing awareness of the potential profits from by-product and waste utilization. The practical example of resource cycling between industrial facilities in Kalundborg, Denmark, came to the attention of the academic community (Ehrenfeld and Gertler 1997), generating substantial interest in what has become known as ‘industrial symbiosis’ (IS). In the intervening fifteen years, examples in which two or more otherwise unrelated industries develop a mutually beneficial relationship making productive use of otherwise underutilized resources (including materials, water and energy)i continue to be a topic of study. The phenomenon, and the research on it, is emblematic of the broader field of industrial ecology.


LOMBARDI, D.R., LYONS, D., SHI, H. and AGARWAL, A. 2012. Industrial symbiosis: testing the boundaries and advancing knowledge. Journal of industrial ecology [online], 16(1), pages 2-7. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 23, 2012
Online Publication Date Feb 23, 2012
Publication Date Feb 29, 2012
Deposit Date Aug 28, 2014
Publicly Available Date Aug 28, 2014
Journal Journal of industrial ecology
Print ISSN 1088-1980
Electronic ISSN 1530-9290
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 2-7
Public URL


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