Industrial Symbiosis

Good for Jobs

Good for the Environment

Maximizing economic, environmental, and social value for communities from economic development investments.  

The Pacific Northwest is positioned to become the North American leader in industrial symbiosis, which enables co-located industries to tap renewable and recycled resources and share ‘secondary resources’ where one industry’s waste – energy, water, or materials – becomes another industry’s resource.


This simple yet powerful idea will not only help the industry reduce waste and pollution – but also spur job creation and economic development in the clean economy. This could benefit communities of all shapes and sizes throughout the PNW – rural, suburban, and urban on both sides of Washington and Oregon.

How it Works

Industrial symbiosis at its most basic - is about resource sharing whereby one's industry's 'waste' becomes another industry's resource, for example, excess heat, water, or other materials. 

CSI's Screening Tool

Our industrial symbiosis economic opportunity screening guide is designed to help businesses, local economic development experts, government officials, planners, and natural resource business owners identify alternative uses for waste products.

Our industrial symbiosis economic opportunity screening guide is recommended for economic development directors and other local officials in rural communities throughout Washington. 

Washington State legislators learn about Industrial Symbiosis in Denmark

Washington Industrial Waste Coordination Report

A WA Dept. of Commerce study was funded during the 2019 session that resulted in a 191-page report containing industrial symbiosis program recommendations.

Industrial Symbiosis in WA:
Bill SB 6430

In 2020 a bipartisan bill, SB 6430 was introduced by WA Senator Sharon Brown to create a program to bring together expertise, technical assistance, and best practices to support local industrial symbiosis projects. Watch Rhys' conversation with Senator Sharon Brown about this bill.

CSI's Industrial Symbiosis Tours

Since 2017, CSI has partnered with i-SUSTAIN, with funding from the Scan Design Foundation, to support sustainable infrastructure learning tours of Denmark for Washington elected officials.

Over the past few years many of these state legislators, inspired by Denmark's examples, have worked together across party lines to help advance industrial symbiosis here at home.

2018 Legislative Session, when the legislature appropriated $1.5 million for the state’s Department of Natural Resources to help the Port of Willapa Harbor replace the shuttered sawmill with a new ‘anchor tenant’ business venture that could grow back the good natural resource jobs that had been lost. 

The funding included $100,000 for CSI to help the community conceptualize an “Energy Innovation District” (EID) built around a new anchor business processing a sustainable forest resource. The EID would harness the principles of industrial symbiosis to build shared infrastructure to harness waste heat, renewable resources, and organic materials to supply affordable and reliable inputs for a cluster of producer businesses generating value-add products, multiplying the economic and environmental benefits from the project.

See it in Action

Successful examples from Denmark prove that industrial symbiosis can create tremendous economic value.

One of the world's earliest adopters, a city of only about 17,000 residents called Kalundborg is estimated to generate $28 million in annual economic value by capturing and reusing waste resources like materials, heat, and energy. In addition, they are reducing climate pollution by over 600,000 tons annually.