Keywords: regional sustainability, industrial symbiosis, distributed economies, localisation, small-scale production systems, pulp and paper industry, recycling, industrial ecology, paper recycling, waste management, energy production
Industrial symbiosis for more sustainable, localised industrial systems
Regionally distributed, small-scale production units prioritising the use of local resources and markets are likely to make a more solid contribution to regional sustainability than their centralised large-scale counterparts. We argue that the concept of Industrial Symbiosis (IS) can be refocused to support the development of such systems. To be useful in this way, better integration of production activities with the regional resource base and local consumption systems should be given increased consideration in IS developments. The potential held by IS to contribute to the emergence of more sustainable production and consumption systems at the regional level is demonstrated by a hypothetical example that considers the integration of localised paper recycling, waste management and energy production systems. Organisational and political difficulties facing such developments are also discussed and suggestions are provided to address these.