Keywords: industrial ecology, industrial ecosystems, industrial symbiosis, eco-industrial parks, Netherlands
Eco-industrial parks: toward industrial symbiosis and utility sharing in practice
The creation of eco-industrial parks has been adopted as an official national policy in the Netherlands. Many local projects have been supported by the national government, both financially and with expert advice. The policy is targeted at both infrastructure projects and at achieving symbiosis and utility sharing. Yet only a limited number of local projects are actually designed to bring about symbiosis and utility sharing. In this paper, we analyse eight cases of eco-industrial parks. The central question is what factors determine the degree of success in achieving symbiosis and/or utility sharing in eco-industrial parks. Business and location-specific features and the way in which the actual decision-making process is organised appear to be crucial factors. This finding implies that there is a need to bridge the tools and instruments of industrial ecology that focus on the physical flows of matter and energy to approaches and tools that concentrate on decision-making, business strategies, organisational characteristics and corporate environmental management.