Industrial Ecology
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Industrial Ecology

Does Green Chemistry offer the ultimate solutions for our cities to become sustainable?

Industrial Ecology: What I really like about this image is that it reminds me of my early childhood, where I would spend hours playing with these little colour coded building blocks, snapping them together, pulling them apart, essentially recycling the various shaped pieces to build something new. There was never any waste, there were no glues, just a few fights to get the best bits. I think that this was my first experience as a recycler.

I believe that simple recycling leads to early-stage resource recovery, which in turn shall prepares us for super-efficient resource recovery (also known as Industrial Symbiosis), and ultimately evolve into Industrial Ecology. To move beyond the current paradigm of early-stage resource recovery, we need to embrace a new culture that is educated and supports upfront product design (for disassembly) with an underlying emphasis on Green Chemistry.

Green Chemistry is the essential component necessary to move towards a system based on Industrial Ecology because it is the Green Chemistry that makes it possible for products to be safely and easily disassembled into their individual component materials for use in a next life-cycle. Green chemistry also solves the problem of removing toxic components that make many products incompatible for recycling opportunities.

Green Chemistry's ‘design to be benign' approach for the manufacture of sustainable products is the obvious direction for regulators to take for eliminating the concept of waste. Green Chemistry is the discipline that connects the gigantic efforts made by the mining sector and the closed-loop recycling solutions that our early-stage resource recovery operators are currently searching for.

The content of this blog was presented at a function hosted by Norman Disney Young in Sydney during September 2012.


"Industrial Ecology mimics natures evolutionary solutions in creating super-efficient supply chain relationships. Industrial Ecology is a systems based model that plans for the synergistic integration of design, efficiency, renewables, and closed-loop recycling to achieve a competitive advantage. It is closed-loop recycling that is the precursor for our cities, regions, and nations to become sustainable". David Burns, 2012.

"Green Chemistry is an available discipline that researches & specifies safe & benign feedstock chemicals and pathways for the manufacture of products, that avoid toxic waste and byproducts".

About David Burns

David Burns is a qualified environmental analytical chemist and former co-founding Director of LabMark analytical laboratories. His sustainable family home located in Sydney was a 2008 RAIA finalist, and native garden recently recognised by ABC Gardening Australia. David is an active member of the Rocky Mountain Institute and is a strong advocate for efficiency, renewables, and smart metering solutions. David's current interests are in green chemistry & industrial ecology.

David Burns can be contacted by email at david.burns@sustain450.com.au or by mobile telephone +61(0)413-558-064.


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