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Everything You Need To Know About Industrial Ecology

February 12, 2020 | By Ronnie Salonga
Wooden sculpture of a factory on top of a bed of grass
    February 12, 2020

What are the important things you need to know about industrial technology?

  1. It is a branch of science that deals with ‘flows’
  2. There are several important subsets of industrial ecology
  3. What to expect from industrial ecology moving forward


In the world of science, new fields of study are continuously being discovered. Whether it’s to tackle the problems that mankind is facing or to discover new ways of improving man’s life, science must continually improve and progress. One such science that is both relatively young and created to address a specific problem is industrial ecology.

If you are not familiar with what industrial ecology is, it is a branch of science that deals with the relationship between industrial systems (i.e. business, production, etc.) and the biosphere. Essentially, it reconciles the effects of man-made activities with nature itself. Given the rapid changes we are seeing and feeling in the environment accompanied by rising global concern, this is a science that is now more important than ever.

Continue reading to know more about industrial ecology and to give you an idea of what to expect for the future.


It Is A Branch Of Science That Deals With ‘Flows’

Metal shavings from a factory

Industrial ecology is often referred to as the “science of flows”. To understand why that is, you have to consider the structure in which mankind lives in, especially from a business perspective. Using a basic commodity-producing firm as an example, there is a core cycle or ‘flow’ that it almost always uses and follows. Raw materials are processed into consumer goods that are bought, used, and then disposed of.

The flow in that example is the journey of resources from one phase to another, going from raw material until its eventual disposal. Industrial ecology seeks to break down that cycle or flow and find out what makes it unsustainable with regards to ecology. This is so that companies can rectify them for the betterment of the future. Put simply, the resulting frameworks, strategies, and approaches are meant to save the environment without sacrificing profits and productivity.


There Are Several Important Subsets Of Industrial Ecology

A piece of cardboard with a recycling symbol

Under the blanket term of industrial ecology, there are many subsets or concepts that accurately depict what the science is all about. Here are a few of them:

  • Industrial Metabolism – the study of material and energy turnover in industrial systems.
  • Eco-design – the process of making products and other physical objects sustainable or ‘eco-friendly’ at all levels.
  • Product Stewardship – also known as extended producer responsibility, product stewardship is an approach to managing the environmental effects of a given product at all the different stages of its lifecycle.
  • Waste Management – waste is one of the biggest antagonists to the preservation of nature and is also one of the most unavoidable. This is why the management of waste at all levels is another important aspect.
  • Industrial Symbiosis – this is the framework in which industrial parks fall under and is the reason why industrial parks and all its related concepts exist in the first place.

Given this, you can already see that industrial ecology is a comprehensive science that is geared to tackle issues of sustainability and environmental preservation at all possible levels.


What to Expect From Industrial Ecology Moving Forward

An factory helmet on top of coal

One of the most important things you should remember about industrial ecology is that the best it can offer mankind has yet to come. Global industrial systems were initially developed and built to rely on certain unsustainable factors. Some of which are fossil fuels or nonrenewable sources of energy. Take automobiles and other machines that use engines for example. All these things still rely on fossil fuels. Electricity is another widely used commodity that is crucial for human life, and yet is still predominantly generated using nonrenewable sources of energy.

If there is one thing you should expect for the future, it would be a radical shift from unsustainable production processes into more sustainable ones. It will affect the way you live, and the way firms and companies do business. In the case of industrial parks, it would be reasonable to expect that more industrial and science parks will be created in many places across the country and the entire world.


Key Takeaway

Now that you know what industrial ecology is, there is no reason to feel uneasy or hopeless for the future. Thanks to such sciences and a rising global awareness regarding the state of our environment and nature as a whole, many people are hard at work to make positive changes.

If you are a business owner that is looking to set-up shop or relocate to a suitable area for a plant or factory then why not consider a local industrial park? Not only are you going to reap the many benefits that it comes with but you are also doing your part in helping the environment. Click here to find out more.

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