Resource efficiency is good for business

Thirty businesses across Northern Ireland have bucked the economic trend and collaborated to achieve actual cost savings of £2.2 million and generate additional sales of over £550,000.

These companies are all participants in the Industrial Symbiosis (IS) service, part of Invest Northern Ireland’s portfolio of support for businesses that want to reduce costs while improving their sustainability.  

Many of the companies were seeking solutions for dealing with waste from their processes. This waste included ropes, clip top drums, machine oil, paper and cardboard, PVC and other plastics, soil, concrete and process waste. Almost all of the companies were aiming to reduce costs too.  

Through engagement with the IS service, the companies received free advice and support from experienced practitioners along with introductions to other companies that could provide an alternative solution to landfill for the waste materials.

Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Technology and Process Development, says: “The Industrial Symbiosis service is helping local companies to generate significant savings by diverting waste from costly landfill. At the same time companies using the waste are reducing their raw material costs. Both are therefore benefiting.”

Throughout the year the IS service runs events for businesses including quick-win workshops and cross-sectoral networking. It identifies potential matches between business participants that often lead to cost savings.

Trevor Knipe, Director at International Synergies Ltd which delivers the service for Invest NI, says: “The IS service continues to attract new businesses and help them achieve real cost savings.  We now have over 1100 organisations involved and have provided a return on investment of 17:1 since July 2011. I look forward to further success in 2012-13 and would encourage businesses to join this growing network.”