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14 – Spontaneous symbiosis inspired by local waste reuse culture and tradition: the experience of the Nanjangud Industrial Area in India

The two neighbouring towns of Nanjangud and Mysore in the state of Karnataka, South India, host a large and diverse group of industrial companies, including both small and large, multinational enterprises. Main industrial sectors represented in Nanjangud Industrial Area (NIA) are food and drinks producers, agro industries, chemical and pulp and paper companies, manufacturer of concrete and wood-based products.

The main challenge driving companies in the NIA to implement symbiotic exchanges is mainly economic interest, related to the reduction of operational costs and to the attainment of the highest economic value from wastes generated during the production process. In addition, through Industrial Symbiosis implementation, companies aimed at achieving improvements in their environmental impact.

The discovery process to identify and implement symbiotic exchanges in NIA is the sum of a series of one-to-one interactions and negotiations among participating companies. Whenever a waste is produced, the company can usually consider three different options to get value out of it, avoiding disposal. The first one is to reuse it internally, the second one is to directly send it to another company for reuse, while the third one is to sell it into the informal recycling markets (dealer that buy mixed waste, deal with different fractions separation and then sell them). The option of selling the waste directly to another company is quite common also due to the fact that there is no compelling regulation on waste handling in India, in particular as regards dry, non-hazardous waste. Exchanges are organised by companies in total autonomy and usually take place in a small geographic boundary (within a radius of 20km), but can occasionally involve companies from outside the region.

There are several preconditions allowing the existence of this completely self-organised symbiotic industrial system. The culture of the region, promoting the reuse and recycling of waste as a positive value from several generations has to be taken into account, as well as an absent regulation for the disposal of non-hazardous waste, which, if on the one hand does not incentives the search for alternative uses of wastes, on the other hand allows their direct trading. The presence of many different industrial sites on a relatively small geographical area entails a high local demand for secondary raw materials. In addition, several industries produce agricultural products, thus generating organic residues. Such residues are not hazardous and easy to reuse for energy production; furthermore they lack of a standardised monetary value on the market, which makes them unsuitable for recycling. Finally, most of the industries located in the area are members of the Nanjangud Industrial Association, thus they already know each other, making it easier to deal with trust-related issues.

Source: Bain A., Shenoy M., Ashton W., Chertow M., 2010, “Industrial symbiosis and waste recovery in an Indian industrial area”. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 54:1278-1287.

The source contains the description of a fully implemented IS case.
ID:15 You can use the source ID to identify exchanges taken from this source in the Exchanges Database. To find out more, check out the Instructions for use in the Exchanges Database.


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