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CSI Continues Push for Industrial Symbiosis

CSI saw incredible momentum this legislative session – which we could never have anticipated just a year ago.

Legislative members of the ‘infrastructure excellence and jobs’ bipartisan coalition introduced legislation to take the first step toward making Washington a national leader in clean manufacturing and production following the Danish industrial symbiosis model.

Their bill (SSB 5936) was embraced at every turn, passing unanimously with 100% of Republicans and Democrats voting for it in:  the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee, the Senate Ways and Means Committee, the Full Senate and the House Committee on Environment and Energy. While there was not enough time to get a hearing in front of the House Appropriations Committee – the interest in and the commitment to making Washington a national leader in clean manufacturing and production continues to grow.

A little history:  CSI partnered with i-SUSTAIN, funded by Scan Design, to bring a bipartisan group of Washington legislators (6 Rs and 6 Ds) to Scandinavia in September 2017, which included an inspiring visit to Kalundborg, the pioneer of the industrial symbiosis model. (Industrial symbiosis, simply put, connects industries so that one industry’s ‘waste’ becomes another’s resource.) The goal was to create common ground and spark excitement for clean manufacturing and production in Washington State, and to create a platform for bipartisan collaboration for smart, sustainable infrastructure policies.

After visiting Denmark, and witnessing the industrial symbiosis model, these legislators coalesced around some shared infrastructure innovation goals, and targeted industrial symbiosis for their first collaborative push in the policy arena. The legislators recognized that clean manufacturing and production can grow jobs and industry across the state – East and West and in rural, suburban and urban communities, while also extracting maximum value from resources and reducing waste and pollution.

So what’s next?  We will be working with the bipartisan coalition to support them in a number of areas they’ve expressed interest in:

  • A tour of potential industrial symbiosis pilot projects in communities across the state this summer.

  • Further meetings to align around a near- and mid-term infrastructure excellence and jobs policy strategy.

  • Moving the industrial symbiosis policy bill over the finish line next legislative session, and considering direct support for pilot projects in several communities across the state.

  • We expect the coalition to grow ahead of the 2020 legislative session. This September, i-SUSTAIN will once again bring a bipartisan delegation of state legislators on a sustainable infrastructure tour of Scandinavia, thanks to financial support from the Scan/Design Foundation.

We’ll share updates as things progress – but clearly the momentum is continuing to build.

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