Skip to content

18 – A symbiotic exchange between an alcoholic drinks and a firewood producer in Scotland: a case of facilitated dialogue with local institutions to overcome legislative barriers

The National Industrial Symbiosis Programme in the UK acted for several years as a facilitator to create several symbiotic exchanges across the whole Country. In this specific case, it helped the implementation of a profitable symbiotic exchange between a manufacturer of alcoholic drinks and a start-up producing firewood out of old whisky barrels, both based in Scotland.

The main challenge that led to the creation of the symbiotic exchange was the need of the alcoholic drinks producer to find a sustainable way to reuse its textile waste packaging. The company was in fact receiving aromatics to use in its production process packaged in hessian sacks, which were landfilled after use.

The main barrier that the facilitator and the alcoholic drinks producer had to face to implement the exchange was the fact that the sacks were categorised as waste and therefore could not be directly traded by the alcoholic drinks producer.

The approach used in order to overcome such barrier was to contact the Scottish Environment Agency and ask for their support. The involvement of the Agency allowed to re-categorise sacks as by-products and finally to implement the exchange.

The discovery process, led by the facilitator, started with analysing the quality of the waste sacks, which resulted to be clean and durable. After that, they used their network to find a suitable partner for the exchange, and contacted a nearby firewood producer. This company was buying hessian sacks as packaging for their own product, and were willing to accept used sacks from the alcoholic drinks producer as a cheaper option.

The main precondition that allowed the creation of the symbiotic exchange was the presence of the regional environmental agency that helped with the re-categorisation of the sacks and its willingness to help the company in solving the issue. In addition, the high quality of the used sacks was fundamental to avoid treatment processes and therefore make the exchange economically feasible.

Source: NISP website

The source contains the description of a fully implemented IS case. The source reports the evaluation of the economic benefits deriving from IS implementation.
ID:11 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.


Back To Top