Is there cash in that trash? Factors influencing industrial symbiosis exchange initiation and completion

Raymond L. Paquin, Suzanne G. Tilleman, Jennifer Howard-Grenville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Past work on industrial symbiosis (IS) includes a wealth of case studies across diverse settings, including industrial estates, economic regions, and IS networks. Though this work provides needed insight into factors shaping IS, much of it has been descriptive in nature. Relatively few findings have been subjected to hypothesis development and testing. In this study, we develop and empirically test a number of hypotheses on factors influencing IS exchange development, using a unique national-level IS data set of 1,322 individual material resource-based exchanges facilitated through the United Kingdom's National Industrial Symbiosis Programme. Our findings affirm and extend the literature in a number of ways. In particular, we found that a firm's number of identified waste streams decreased the likelihood of initiating an exchange, but increased the likelihood of completing it once initiated. We also found, counter to the literature, that diversity among partnering firms reduced the likelihood of both initiating and completing an IS exchange. Finally, we found that higher economic value exchanges were more likely to be initiated, but less likely to be completed. We discuss implications and conclude with a number of avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-279
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • By-product exchange
  • Eco-industrial development
  • Industrial ecology
  • Industrial symbiosis
  • National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP)
  • Probit analysis


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