Industrial symbiosis is the mutually beneficial exchange of waste and by-products between three or more parties. Based on ecological mutualism and nutrient flows within an ecosystem, industrial symbiosis requires collaboration across stakeholders within a relatively small geographic proximity.
There are three opportunities for resource exchange within an industrial symbiotic system:
Industrial symbiosis often occurs within industrial parks. Their evolution may be planned or self-organizing. Some governments and private sector actors have planned eco-industrial parks in attempts to revitalize sites, stimulate job growth and promote sustainable development.
Business stands to benefit from engaging in an industrial symbiotic system because of avoided landfill costs, capital gains from by-product sale, reduced operating expenses and mitigating negative environmental impacts.