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Pollution Prevention and Industrial Ecology

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Pollution Prevention and Industrial Ecology

Introduction • 1 November 1995 NATIONAL POLLUTION PREVENTION CENTER FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

    Pollution Prevention

    and Industrial Ecology

    Industrial Ecology:

    An Introduction

    By Andy Garner, NPPC Research Assistant; and

    Gregory A. Keoleian, Ph.D., Assistant Research Scientist, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, and NPPC Research Manager National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education • University of Michigan May be reproduced Dana Building, 430 East University, Ann Arbor MI 48109-1115 freely for non-commercial 734.764.1412 • fax 734.647.5841 • nppc@umich.edu • www.umich.edu/~nppcpub educational purposes.

    Background ................................................................. 2

    Industrial Ecology: Toward a Definition ................... 3

    Historical Development ......................................... 3 Defining Industrial Ecology ................................... 4 Teaching Industrial Ecology .................................. 4 Industrial Ecology as a Field of Ecology .............. 5 Goals of Industrial Ecology ........................................ 5

    Sustainable Use of Resources ............................. 6 Ecological and Human Health .............................. 6 Environmental Equity............................................ 6 Key Concepts of Industrial Ecology ......................... 6

    Systems Analysis .................................................. 6 Material & Energy Flows & Transformations ........ 6 Multidisciplinary Approach .................................. 10 Analogies to Natural Systems ............................ 10 Open- vs. Closed-Loop Systems ........................ 11 Strategies for Environmental Impact Reduction:

    Industrial Ecology as a Potential Umbrella

    for Sustainable Development Strategies ................. 12

    System Tools to Support Industrial Ecology.......... 12

    Life Cycle Assessment ....................................... 12 Components ........................................................ 13 Methodology ........................................................ 13 Applications ......................................................... 20 Difficulties ............................................................ 20 Life Cycle Design & Design for Environment ....... 21 Needs Analysis ....................................................21 Design Requirements ......................................... 21 Design Strategies ............................................... 24 Design Evaluation ............................................... 25 Future Needs ............................................................. 26

    Further Information .................................................. 26

    Endnotes .................................................................... 27

    Appendix A: Industrial Symbiosis at Kalundborg .. 28

    Appendix B: Selected Definitions ........................... 31

    List of Tables

    Table 1: Organizational Hierarchies ................................. 2 Table 2: Worldwide Atmospheric Emissions of

    Trace Metals (Thousand Tons/Year) ................... 9

    Table 3: Global Flows of Selected Materials .................... 9 Table 4: Resources Used in Automaking........................ 10

Table 5: General Difficulties and Limitations of

    the LCA Methodology ....................................... 20 Table 7: Issues to Consider When Developing

    Environmental Requirements ........................... 23 Table 8: Strategies for Meeting Environmental

    Requirements ................................................... 24 Table 9: Definitions of Accounting and Capital

    Budgeting Terms Relevant to LCD ................... 25 List of Figures

    Figure 1: The Kalundborg Park ....................................... 3 Figure 2: World Extraction, Use, and Disposal

    of Lead, 1990 (thousand tons) ......................... 7 Figure 3: Flow of Platinum Through Various Product

    Systems ........................................................... 8 Figure 4: Arsenic Pathways in U.S., 1975. ...................... 8 Figure 5: System Types ................................................ 11 Figure 6: Technical Framework for LCA........................ 13 Figure 7: The Product Life Cycle System...................... 14 Figure 9: Flow Diagram Template ................................. 15 Figure 8: Process Flow Diagram ................................... 15 Figure 10: Checklist of Criteria With Worksheet ............. 16 Figure 11: Detailed System Flow Diagram for Bar Soap .. 18 Figure 12: Impact Assessment Conceptual Framework .. 19 Figure 13: Life Cycle Design ........................................... 22 Figure 14: Requirements Matrices .................................. 23 2 • Introduction November 1995

    Environmental problems are systemic and thus require a systems approach so that the connections between industrial practices/human activities and environmental/

    ecological processes can be more readily recognized. A systems approach provides a holistic view of environmental problems, making them easier to identify

    and solve; it can highlight the need for and advantages of achieving sustainability. Table 1 depicts hierarchies

    of political, social, industrial, and ecological systems. Industrial ecology studies the interaction between different industrial systems as well as between industrial

    systems and ecological systems. The focus of study can be at different system levels.

    One goal of industrial ecology is to change the linear nature of our industrial system, where raw materials are used and products, by-products, and wastes are produced, to a cyclical system where the wastes are reused as energy or raw materials for another product or process. The Kalundborg, Denmark, eco-industrial park represents an attempt to create a highly integrated industrial system that optimizes the use of byproducts and minimizes the waste that that leaves the system. Figure 1 shows the symbiotic nature of the Kalundborg

    park (see Appendix A for a more complete description).

    Fundamental to industrial ecology is identifying and tracing flows of energy and materials through various systems. This concept, sometimes referred to as industrial

    metabolism, can be utilized to follow material and

    energy flows, transformations, and dissipation in the industrial system as well as into natural systems.2

    The mass balancing of these flows and transformations can help to identify their negative impacts on natural ecosystems. By quantifying resource inputs and the

    generation of residuals and their fate, industry and other stakeholders can attempt to minimize the environmental burdens and optimize the resource efficiency of material and energy use within the industrial system. This portion of the industrial ecology compendium provides an overview of the subject and offers guidance on how one may teach it. Other educational resources are also emerging. Industrial Ecology (Thomas Graedel

    and Braden Allenby; New York: Prentice Hall, 1994), the first university textbook on the topic, provides a well-organized introduction and overview to industrial ecology as a field of study. Another good textbook is Pollution Prevention: Homework and Design Problems for Engineering Curricula (David T. Allen, N. Bakshani, and

    Kirsten Sinclair Rosselot; Los Angeles: American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Insttute for Pollution Prevention, and the Center for Waste Reduction

    Technologies, 1993). Both serve as excellent sources of both qualitative and quantitative problems that could be used to enhance the teaching of industrial ecology concepts. Other sources of information are noted elsewhere in this introduction and in the accompanying

    ―Industrial Ecology Resource List.‖

    Background

    The development of industrial ecology is an attempt to provide a new conceptual framework for understanding

    the impacts of industrial systems on the environment (see the ―Overview of Environmental Problems‖ section

    of this compendium). This new framework serves to identify and then implement strategies to reduce the environmental impacts of products and processes associated with industrial systems, with an ultimate goal of sustainable development.

    Industrial ecology is the study of the physical, chemical, and biological interactions and interrelationships both within and between industrial and ecological systems. Additionally, some researchers feel that industrial ecology involves identifying and implementing strategies for industrial systems to more closely emulate harmonious, sustainable, ecological ecosystems.1

    TABLE 1: ORGANIZATIONAL HIERARCHIES

    Political Social Industrial Industrial Ecological Entities Organizations Organizations Systems Systems UNEP World population ISO Global human material Ecosphere U.S. (EPA, DOE) Cultures Trade associations and energy flows Biosphere State of Michigan Communities Corporations Sectors (e.g., transpor- Biogeographical

    (Michigan DEQ) Product systems Divisions tation or health care) region Washtenaw County Households Product develop- Corporations/institutions Biome landscape

    City of Ann Arbor Individuals/ ment teams Product systems Ecosystem Individual Voter Consumbers Individuals Life cycle stages/unit steps Organism Source: Keoleian et al., Life Cycle Design Framework and Demonstration Projects (Cincinnati: U.S. EPA Risk Reduction Engineering Lab, 1995), 17. Introduction • 3 November 1995

    Industrial ecology is an emerging field. There is much discussion and debate over its definition as well as its practicality. Questions remain concerning how it overlaps with and differs from other more established fields of study. It is still uncertain whether industrial ecology warrants being considered its own field or should be

    incorporated into other disciplines. This mirrors the challenge in teaching it. Industrial ecology can be taught as a separate, semester-long course or incorporated into existing courses. It is foreseeable that more colleges and universities will begin to initiate educational and research programs in industrial ecology.

    Industrial Ecology: Toward a Definition Historical Development

    Industrial ecology is rooted in systems analysis and is a higher level systems approach to framing the interaction between industrial systems and natural systems. This systems approach methodology can be traced to the work of Jay Forrester at MIT in the early 1960s and 70s; he was one of the first to look at the world as a series of interwoven systems (Principles of Systems,

    1968, and World Dynamics, 1971; Cambridge, Wright-

    Allen Press). Donella and Dennis Meadows and others furthered this work in their seminal book Limits to

    Growth (New York: Signet, 1972). Using systems

    analysis, they simulated the trends of environmental degradation in the world, highlighting the unsustainable course of the then-current industrial system. In 1989, Robert Ayres developed the concept of industrial metabolism: the use of materials and energy

    by industry and the way these materials flow through industrial systems and are transformed and then dissipated as wastes.3 By tracing material and energy

    flows and performing mass balances, one could identify inefficient products and processes that result in industrial waste and pollution, as well as determine steps to reduce them. Robert Frosch and Nicholas Gallopoulos, in their important article ―Strategies for Manufacturing‖

    (Scientific American 261; September 1989, 144152),

    developed the concept of industrial ecosystems, which led to the term industrial ecology. Their ideal industrial

    ecosystem would function as ―an analogue‖ of its biological

    counterparts. This metaphor between industrial and natural ecosystems is fundamental to industrial ecology. In an industrial ecosystem, the waste produced by one company would be used as resources by another. No waste would leave the industrial system or negatively impact natural systems.

    FIGURE 1: THE KALUNDBORG PARK 4 • Introduction November 1995

    There is substantial activity directed at the product level using such tools as life cycle assessment and life

    cycle design and utilizing strategies such as pollution prevention. Activities at other levels include tracing the flow of heavy metals through the ecosphere. A cross-section of definitions of industrial ecology is provided in Appendix B. Further work needs to be

    done in developing a unified definition. Issues to address include the following.

    • Is an industrial system a natural system?

    Some argue that everything is ultimately natural. • Is industrial ecology focusing on integrating industrial

    systems into natural systems, or is it primarily attempting to emulate ecological systems? Or both?

• Current definitions rely heavily on technical, engineered

    solutions to environmental problems. Some

    authors believe that changing industrial systems will also require changes in human behavior and social patterns. What balance between behavioral changes and technological changes is appropriate?

    • Is systems analysis and material and energy

    accounting the core of industrial ecology?

    Teaching Industrial Ecology

    Industrial ecology can be taught as a separate course or incorporated into existing courses in schools of engineering, business, public health and natural resources. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of environmental problems, the course can also be a multidisciplinary offering; the sample syllabi offered in this compendium illustrate this idea. Degrees in industrial ecology might be awarded by universities in the future.4

    Chauncey Starr has written of the need for schools of engineering to lead the way in integrating an interdisciplinary approach to environmental problems in the

    future. This would entail educating engineers so that they could incorporate social, political, environmental and economic factors into their decisions about the uses of technology.5 Current research in environmental

    education attempts to integrate pollution prevention, sustainable development, and other concepts and strategies into the curriculum. Examples include environmental accounting, strategic environmental management, and environmental law.

    In 1991, the National Academy of Science‘s Colloqium

    on Industrial Ecology constituted a watershed in the development of industrial ecology as a field of study. Since the Colloqium, members of industry, academia and government have sought to further characterize and apply it. In early 1994, The National Academy of Engineering published The Greening of Industrial Ecosystems (Braden Allenby and Deanna Richards, eds.). The book brings together many earlier initiatives and efforts to use systems analysis to solve environmental problems. It identifies tools of industrial ecology, such as design for the environment, life cycle design, and environmental accounting. It also discusses the interactions between industrial ecology and other disciplines such as law, economics, and public policy.

    Industrial ecology is being researched in the U.S. EPA‘s

    Futures Division and has been embraced by the AT&T Corporation. The National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education (NPPC) promotes the systems approach in developing pollution prevention (P2) educational materials. The NPPC‘s research on industrial

    ecology is a natural outgrowth of our work in P2. Defining Industrial Ecology

    There is still no single definition of industrial ecology that is generally accepted. However, most definit