Exchanging by-products to improve resource efficiency
Using by-products and waste streams as raw materials for new production processes has become a successful strategy for improving resource efficiency, and the concept of chemical parks or industrial clusters where by-products and waste could be exchanged between companies is becoming mainstream.
Five clusters comprising of various industrial plants have recently been analysed as part of the EU-funded EPOS project which aims to explore their potential for industrial symbiosis and more efficient exchange of raw materials and by-products.
The most advanced example of cross-sectorial symbiosis opportunities in EPOS can be found in Hull, UK, where CEMEX, a cement company, could use liquid waste from INEOS, a petrochemicals company. It could also take chalk reject material from OMYA, a producer of industrial minerals and return its cement kiln dust to OMYA’s quarry.
Associated SDG targets
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Circular Economy 2.0
In 2015, the European Commission published its Circular Economy package to promote the transition from a linear economy into a circular economy, where resource efficiency is increased and the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible. When a product reaches the end of its life, options such re-use, remanufacturing and recycling can be explored to create additional value. Circular Economy can bring forth economic benefits, by contributing to growth and job creation and stimulating innovation, and in parallel provide environmental benefits.