Eco-efficiency and Industrial Symbiosis Activities
“Symbiosis” is a biological term that means the mutual existence of two organisms like a single organism by helping each other. Industrial symbiosis, which follows the same approach as industrial ecology, is defined as the exchange of materials and energy between two independent but neighboring industrial businesses, similar to what is seen in nature. In this regard, industrial symbiosis implies the creation of long-term partnerships between two or more industrial businesses that are preferably physically close, but which normally operate independently of each other, and to work in solidarity to improve environmental performance and competitiveness. In other words, industrial symbiosis brings independent businesses together within the framework of an innovative resourcing approach. This network involves sharing all sorts of assets, logistic and specialty resources, including the physical exchange of materials, energy, water and/or by-products. Such an approach not only aids in the prevention of environmental and social problems stemming from industrial activities, but also provides economic gains. Furthermore, industrial symbiosis also supports entrepreneurship and regional development, and opens the door to the creation of new lines of business in addition to R&D, innovation and clustering activities.
Products that were developed with the aim of raising awareness among the companies and emphasizing best practice examples on the subjects of eco-efficiency and industrial symbiosis were tested in the field over the last four to five years through social accountability funds from the private sector and various sponsorships from state institutions, namely regional development agencies.