16 examples of Industrial Symbiosis among companies

Here are concrete cases of Industrial Symbiosis that have led companies to gain economic, competitive and environmental advantages through the application of Circular Economy models

Simone Tabellini per Sfridoo

Simone Tabellini

Digital Marketing Specialist

Industrial Symbiosis definition

When we talk about Industrial Symbiosis (IS) we refer to a real network of industrial activities that aim to maximize the value of the resources used (materials, energy, services and skills), within their production processes.

Such relationships can occur between companies in a limited geographical area, the most representative case of such a context being the Kalundborg Industrial District, or in a more or less distant geographical area, in which case it is more correct to use the term “Batch Model“.

The purpose of Industrial Symbiosis

Before delving into the analysis of examples of Industrial Symbiosis, it is necessary to understand what its real purpose is.

These models come into being with the aim of obtaining the maximum value from each and every resource present within industrial processes, be it energy, material or related to the know-how of the companies to be improved.

This purpose brings with it various benefits, such as the creation of win-win situations, the efficiency of the resources used, an increase in the degree of environmental sustainability of the processes, the adoption of new circular models, an important economic and social benefit, and many others.

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With Sfridoo® you capture the residual value of your waste, reaping economic, fiscal and environmental benefits, thanks to the principles of the Circular Economy and collaboration with other companies in the network.


Esempi di Simbiosi Industriale internazionali

So let us see what are the examples of Industrial Symbiosis, starting from the international virtuous cases.

Specifically, the international IS cases we are going to analyze are eleven:

  • Kalundborg Industrial District.
  • Integrated Biosystem Montfort Boys Town.
  • Londonderry Eco-Industrial Park.
  • Riverside Eco-Park, Vermont.
  • Red Hills Power Plant, Mississippi.
  • Taiga Nova Eco Industrial Park.
  • CleanTech Park, Singapore.
  • NISP: National Industrial Symbiosis Program.
  • Shawnigan Lake ECO-Industrial Park.
  • Burnside Park, Nova Scotia.
  • The city of Kwinana, Australia.

Kalundborg Industrial District, Denmark

The Kalundborg Industrial District operates through an extensive network of physical connections that facilitates the exchange of production waste such as wastewater and the sharing of materials and thermal and energy resources.

The district, which began in the 1960s as a material exchange area, is now one of the longest-running examples of Industrial Symbiosis, thanks largely to the will of the company owners themselves, who from day one came together under a common motto: “working together is just a smart business.”

Today within the network are major industrial groups such as the world’s largest producer of insulin, Novo Nordisk, the world’s largest producer of enzymes, Novozymes, and Northern Europe’s largest wastewater treatment plant.

Integrated Biosystem Montfort Boys Town

A case of IS is the Integrated Biosystem project located in the Fiji Islands.

It was designed for the purpose of collecting spent grain from breweries that would otherwise be dumped into the sea, choking coral reefs.

The system uses brewery waste as a substrate to grow mushrooms, which break down the waste, making it into a high-value pig feed.

Next, the waste generated by the pigs is treated through an anaerobic digester, and then piped into fishponds.

Such treatment makes the water rich in nutrients by generating food for four trophic layers of fish.

The waste also creates fertile soil for growing vegetables.

What is special about this project is that it combines the agricultural world with industrial processes, a concept that is also captured in the project’s very name: “integrated biosystem,” translated “integrated biosystem.”

Londonderry Eco-Industrial Park

The city of Londonderry has assembled a 100-acre park near the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, with the goal of creating an eco-industrial park.

The project was awarded to a private developer, specializing in sustainable development and design, who agreed to purchase the land and follow a set of performance requirements, guidelines and environmental practices.

A 720 MW combined cycle gas-fired power plant built by AES Corporation has been permitted and several other tenants have moved into the eco-industrial park site.

The plant will use wastewater from a nearby sewage treatment plant for use in its cooling towers.

Riverside Eco-Park, Vermont

The Riverside Eco-Park is an eco-park consisting of 10,000 square meters of businesses and 50,000 square meters of greenhouses (bio shelters), which will be built in Burlingtons Intervale.

Within the park will be facilities for food production, greenhouses and organic farming, organic waste processing machines and a fish farm.

These processes will be powered by waste heat from the country’s largest wood-fired power plant-the 60 MW McNeil Generating Plant.

The plant’s byproduct, namely steam, will be used to close the facility’s energy cycle.

The project has received $1,020,000 from the Economic Development Administration, receiving requests from many companies to lease space within the Eco-park.

Red Hills Power Plant, Mississippi

The Red Hills Power Plant project, in Ackerman, Mississippi, was started in October 1998,

The core of the project is the construction of a $450 million power plant by the Belgian company Tractebel at the site of a lignite mine in rural Mississippi.

Using fluidized bed technology to reduce sulfur emissions, the 440 MW plant will burn about 1.5 million tons of lignite per year.

The plant provides jobs and a positive economic impact to the local community from both the power plant and the adjacent mine, 100% of whose lignite production goes to the power plant.

In addition, the project is supported by the Energy Division of the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community.

Taiga Nova Eco Industrial Park

Taiga Nova Eco Industrial Park is an industrial district in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, the first to be established in the city.

The eco-park, which was completed in 2011, consists of approximately 131 acres and is remarkably efficient both structurally and in terms of sustainable design.

The facility provides a space for environmentally friendly businesses with the aim of fostering a fair relationship between the environment and the economy while providing services to the community.

The Eco-Industrial Park also has business, commercial and industrial lots.

Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali

Do you want to give value to your business waste?

With Sfridoo® you capture the residual value of your waste, reaping economic, fiscal and environmental benefits, thanks to the principles of the Circular Economy and collaboration with other companies in the network.


CleanTech Park, Singapore

CleanTech Park is an eco-business park in Singapore, the first to spring up in the city-state with this virtuous goal.

The 37,500-square-meter site is adjacent to Nanyang Technological University, the city’s technology hub.

Within the facility are offices, workshops and laboratories for research and development activities related to clean technologies.

Technologies such as energy-efficient LED lighting, control sensors, and solar panels are used for such spaces, which help the facility save money economically and reduce its impact on the environment.

Indeed, the purpose of the Clean Tech Park is to find new sustainable solutions for Singapore’s manufacturing apparatus.

NISP: National Industrial Symbiosis Programme

National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) is a British program that promotes industrial symbiosis worldwide.

The program was created in 2005 by the U.K. Business Council for Sustainable Development and managed by the nonprofit International Synergies.

In 2007, the nonprofit exported this model to more than 20 European countries through a model called “capacity building.”

In fact, NISP’s main goal is to facilitate the exchange of resources between businesses, promoting waste reduction and energy efficiency by providing skills and processes to accelerate the process of change in these areas.

The program is based on the idea that waste from one enterprise can become useful resources for another enterprise, thus creating a virtuous interconnection between the enterprises themselves.

The operation of NISP involves the creation of an online database where enterprises can enter their available resources and needs.

Shawnigan Lake ECO-Industrial Park

The Shawnigan Lake ECO-Industrial Park (SEIP) is a project that started from the regeneration of an area subject to forest clearing and massive extraction of raw materials, such as gravel.

SEIP was founded in 1999 and is an example of how Industrial Symbiosis and environmental sustainability can be integrated into a successful industrial project.

Today, the project has achieved the highest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification standards, demonstrating the importance of considering energy efficiency and environmental impact in the design and construction of buildings and communities.

Burnside Park, Nuova Scozia

The Burnside Park eco-park is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and provides an opportunity to investigate the application of industrial ecology to small businesses.

It represents the largest industrial park, consisting of 2,000 businesses and about 30,000 employees.

With institutional support, today the eco-park has helped 1,500 companies improve their environmental performance through the building of strategic relationships and strong support for changing business practices.

The city of Kwinana, Australia.

Australia has developed an Industrial Symbiosis project in which the activities of the entire city of Kwinana share water, energy and waste.

According to data provided by the city of Kwinana’s official website, industrial symbiosis has avoided the disposal of about 25,000 tons of waste per year, thereby reducing the industry’s CO2 emissions by about 100,000 tons per year.

An example of the link created is as follows: a chemical industry supplies cooling water to a steel company, while slag from the steel industry is used as a base material for asphalt.

In addition, Industrial Symbiosis has created new job opportunities and increased the competitiveness of enterprises involved in the circular economy system.

Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali

Do you want to give value to your business waste?

With Sfridoo® you capture the residual value of your waste, reaping economic, fiscal and environmental benefits, thanks to the principles of the Circular Economy and collaboration with other companies in the network


Examples of Italian Indsutrial Symbiosis.

Over the years, the Italian industrial network has also been active in carrying out Industrial Symbiosis projects.

The most relevant virtuous cases that have been activated are as follows:

  • Marghera Port, Venice.
  • Brescia industrial district.
  • Leather district of Santa Croce sull’Arno.
  • Prato textile district.
  • ENEA’s Industrial Symbiosis Projects.

Marghera Port, Venice

The Port of Marghera, located in the province of Venice, is another successful example of Industrial Symbiosis.

The symbiotic network has developed through the creation of a group of companies, which have begun to collaborate with each other to reduce the costs and environmental impact of their activities.

In particular, one of the most significant activities in Porto Marghera is energy production.

Companies in the network produce energy through the recovery of waste from industrial activities, which would otherwise be destined for landfill.

In this way, the energy produced is used by the companies themselves and by local communities, thus reducing dependence on fossil energy sources and promoting environmental sustainability.

Such relationships between different actors have enabled the creation of a virtuous system of Circular Economy, which reduces the costs and environmental impact of industrial activities, improving the sustainability of the entire community.

Brescia industrial district

The Brescia district represents a first demonstration in which, thanks to the cooperation established between the local Confindustria and the CONOE consortium, an efficient network of mineral oil collection and valorization has been created.

The district is characterized by:

  • A high concentration of SMEs;
  • a high level of specialization in industrial activities;
  • a strong interdependence of their production processes;
  • a marked integration with the territorial context in which they are located.

Through such collaborations, more than 5,000 tons of industrial oil have been collected and sent for recycling.

Leather district of Santa Croce sull’Arno.

The Santa Croce District was conceived by the Tanners Association to summarize and tell the story of the incredible wealth of resources that the Tuscan tanning industry is able to express.

The district is characterized by the production of leather and hides used in sectors such as furniture, leather goods and the fashion industry in general.

The most characteristic element of the district lies in the shared management by local companies of wastewater, which is collected and managed in a single centralized purification plant.

The district now has dozens of associations and member companies.

Prato textile district.

The Prato textile district, one of the largest in Europe, is to date one of the leading models in the recovery of materials from used clothing.

Within the district there are about 7,000 fashion enterprises from a variety of sectors: clothing products, furniture textiles, yarns for the knitting industry and many others.

At the same time, it testifies to some of the difficulties encountered in the implementation of virtuous practices due to current regulations.

In fact, this experience has enabled the development of a symbiosis system aimed at processing more than 180 thousand tons per year of textile waste and more than 50 thousand tons of waste and leftovers.

ENEA’s Industrial Symbiosis Projects.

ENEA (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) has been investing its resources for years in the implementation of Industrial Symbiosis projects throughout Italy.

Among these projects are the following ones, which represent an effective contribution to Industrial Symbiosis on the Italian territory.

“Eco-innovation Sicily” project

The “Eco-innovation Sicily” project started in 2011, with the aim of fostering the production of energy, livestock feed and compost from agro-food waste.

“Green-Simbiosi Industriale” project

The “Green-Simbiosi Industriale” project, funded by the Bologna Chamber of Commerce, is aimed at the production of biopolymers, nutraceutical substances, and energy valorization.

Rieti industrial development area project

The project in the Rieti-Cittaducale industrial development area aims to give symbiosis solutions in different areas: from wood packaging management to wood biomass management.

Innetwork Program

The Innetwork Program, launched in 2016/2017, is aimed at the production of nutraceutical substances from olive mill vegetation water and the valorization of energy from waste from the olive supply chain.


The “CREIAMO” project, in partnership with Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, aims to foster new destinations and economic valorization opportunities for by-products and waste from the olive and wine supply chains.

Sfridoo and the benefits of Industrial Symbiosis

Sfridoo’s goal is to generate Industrial Symbiosis among enterprises by actively contributing in synergies to get the most value from production waste.

Over the years, Sfridoo, thanks to its network of circular enterprises and production waste valorization services, has succeeded in creating hundreds of Indaustrial Symbiosis relationships, bringing various benefits to the partner companies:

  • Economic savings by avoiding costs associated with waste management.
  • Reduced costs for raw material and energy supply.
  • Creation of business network and new market opportunities.
  • Reduction in costs associated with waste management, transportation and production.
  • Optimization in resource use and prevention of waste generation.
  • Mitigation of pressure on the environment and emissions.
Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali

Do you want to give value to your business waste?

With Sfridoo® you capture the residual value of your waste, reaping economic, fiscal and environmental benefits, thanks to the principles of the Circular Economy and collaboration with other companies in the network.

Simone Tabellini per Sfridoo

Simone Tabellini

Digital Marketing Specialist

One of the challenges of the Circular Economy sector, is to be able to clearly and effectively communicate the benefits that this economic model can give companies. By investing in it, we can increase awareness and knowledge in people.

Article updated on 28/10/2023