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Take-aways from the 8th round of CircLean Open Innovation Workshop hosted in Dublin 

On September 28, 52 stakeholders were welcomed both online and in Dublin to participate in an active discussion on industrial symbiosis (IS). The workshop was co-organised by International Synergies Limited, and CirculEIRE, the Irish Manufacturing Research Centre. 

The session began with a presentation by Anestis Filopoulos, Policy Officer at the European Commission’s DG Grow. Filopoulos reminded the audience of the European Commission’s ambition for IS development, and the importance of the CircLean Network’s role. The associated environmental and economic benefits of IS in terms of environmental protection and mitigation, competitiveness and industrial innovation were brought forward. A presentation of the CircLean toolbox (including the self-assessment model and the matching tool by James Woodcock from International Synergies Ltd followed. Three Irish local industrial symbiosis initiatives representatives then took the floor to present their projects: Chisom Ekomaru from Ecocem, Rick Earley from Cirtex and Cliona Costella from Meade Farm Group. It was brought forward that Industrial Symbiosis is associated with a wide range of benefits on a regional scale, including stimulating economic growth, cost-saving across industrial processes and innovation investment. This is demonstrated by Hub4Circularity. Then a roundtable discussion on IS uptakes began with views shared by Geraldine Brennan from CIRCULEIRE, Catrina Collins from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Les Carberry from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communication and Peter Laybourn from International Synergies

Among the discussion points, some key hindering factors in developing IS were identified including:  

  • Uncertainty over secondary material status and criteria for permit issuance for exchanging waste    
  • A lack of willingness to collaborate by some companies (due to the uncertainties identified) 

It was emphasised that such factors slow down the development of IS by discouraging companies from incorporating IS in their processes.   

On the brighter side, success factors and enablers were also discussed such as: 

  • The fact that countries have a record number of national facilitation programs at the regional level – these are essential to address the economic barriers. 
  • Similarly, the economy and regulations have the power to drive IS indirectly. For example, incentives for the use of secondary materials should be introduced in order to address the fact that waste resources are currently more expensive than primary ones. 
  • Industrial Symbiosis highly relies on building trust with the right partners and that can be promoted through open communication, and open data sourcing. 
  • There is a demand to harmonise the interpretation of regulation across member states. This would be the key to tackling uncertainty.  
  • It is suggested that more awareness be raised regarding IS implementation benefits to foster SME participation in particular. 

The full report of the Irish Open Innovation Workshop which includes more discussion takeaways can be found here.

Read about the other CircLean Open Innovation Workshops here:

  • CircLean Open Innovation Worlshop in Slovenia
  • CircLean Open Innovation Workshop in Finland
  • CircLean Open Innovation Workshop in Hungary
  • CircLean Open Innovation Workshop in Belgium
  • CircLean Open Innovation Workshop in Spain 

If you are interested in joining the CircLean network, don’t hesitate to contact us