Applied Sustainability, LLC

By Productt Synergy: Cross-Industry Collaboration to Achieve 100% Product Manufacturings

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Courtesy of Applied Sustainability, LLC

An oil refinery’s spent caustic is being reused by another company’s pulp and paper mill in Alberta, Canada. In North Texas, an electric utility’s fly ash may be used to make composite roofing shingles. In Monterrey, Mexico, cellophane scrap discarded by a packaging company may end up as liner material for the natural gas wells of a Texas producer. And in Midlothian, Texas, a by-product of steelmaking is being reused by a nearby cement manufacturer.

All are examples of “By-Product Synergy™,” a process that is transforming the way companies do business. Around the world, diverse industries are coming together to discover ways in which one company’s by-product can be another’s raw material.

Materials, transportation, heat and steam, or even manpower are potential synergy opportunities. A company that is trucking low-density materials like snacks or insulation material can team up with a partner that is shipping heavy items like steel bars. By combining their loads, they consume less energy and release fewer greenhouse gases.

One of the earliest, and most successful examples of By-Product Synergy was the partnership that developed between Chaparral Steel Corp. and its sister company, Texas Industries Inc. (TXI), a cement manufacturer. By working together, the two companies discovered a way to convert steel slag into a valuable raw material for cement production. The partnership has increased profits for both companies, cut energy usage, and reduced greenhouse-gas emissions. It also led to the merger of the two companies. A By taking “wastes” from one company and using them as raw materials for another, industry can turn a negative into a positive—for the environment and shareholders.

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