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Case #541

Danish Companies Recycle Industrial By-Products


For more than two decades, companies in the seaport town of Kalundborg, Denmark, (population 20,000) have been passing industrial by-products on to those who can make use of them. For example, Asnaes Power Station, Denmark's largest power producer, transfers the steam it generates to Kalundborg's heating system. As a result, the city has been able to get rid of 3,500 oil furnaces, which were a significant source of air pollution. The power plant also recycles several other by-products: Desulfurized fly ash goes to the local cement company, and gypsum is sold to a factory that uses it to make wallboard. An oil refinery sends liquid sulfur to a sulfuric acid producer, while surplus yeast from insulin production at the local pharmaceutical manufacturer is used as animal feed. The trade in "waste" is called "industrial symbiosis," and the cooperation has helped save money and the environment.


Recycling on an industrial scale level requires more expertise and training than does recycling on a domestic or business level. However, the results, like the projects, are also quite large. A careful look at what links can be made between industrial entities (as far as both outputs and needs) could result in looking in a new way for potential resources. The conversion of waste to beneficial use would be site specific but an exchange of information between various sites would be helpful and could expand the network of potential suppliers and receivers of the by-products involved. Downsides: costs, logistics involved with transportation of wastes from the production site to the use site, and the availability of technology and technological experts. The principles, however, could be applied anywhere.
Location: Denmark
Action: Economic/Business
Setting: Developed World
Extent of Action: Local
Issues: Environment
Year(s): 2002
Outcome successful
Source: Sierra (Magazine), January/February 2002, p. 15


Prepared By: sl 2/02
Rating: 1
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