Data collected by the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) may help the government kick start its campaign to carry out comprehensive surveys into national waste streams – having collected data from more than 10,000 companies in the last three years.
The House of Lords report on Waste Reduction published last week recommended that the government undertake studies in order to provide a national picture of waste streams and production to shape future strategy and policy on waste.
“One of the key by-products of an industrial symbiosis (IS) programme is information and data,” says Peter Laybourn, Programme Director for NISP.
“Companies participating in IS are asked to share information on the resources they have and the resources they want. In the case of NISP, this information is input into a national resource database – the largest in the UK – and used by IS practitioners to help identify mutually profitable links between companies.”
To date, NISP has collected data from more than 10,000 companies across each of the 12 regions in the UK from every industry sector. This data reveals more than 80,000,000 tonnes (approximately 25% of the total waste stream derived from commerce and industry in the UK) of potentially valuable resources available for reuse across the UK.
Peter continues, “After three years' experience with NISP we're beginning to see further possibilities over and above the highly successful organic, demand led IS approach. Intelligence based IS has the potential to impact on future policies as well as changing the shape of regional economic development of the future.
“We are already working closely with a number of regional development agencies and have undertaken a regional study on resource mapping by integrating NISP and other clean and up to date available data sets. Knowing where all this material is located is half the battle in finding long term sustainable solutions that also will make a contribution to the low carbon economy of the future.”