Invest Northern Ireland recently held a workshop in Coleraine aimed at helping local companies find cost effective solutions for wasted resources.
28 delegates came together to discuss some of the resources which are costing their business money and to see if other businesses could use their waste material for some useful purpose. This approach is called industrial symbiosis.
The company representatives eagerly shared information in the hope of finding a more cost effective or even profitable alternative to normal waste management routes with the companies attending. After two hours of structured networking, 197 exchanges between different companies were identified for resources like torn polytunnel plastic, steel tube off cuts, PVC Banners and old rubber conveyor belts.
It is anticipated that these matches could result in the diversion of almost 20,000 tonnes of material from landfill and save companies around £2.5m on their bottom line. One match agreed between two companies on the day will lead to the diversion of six tonnes of rubber crumb from landfill.
Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation and Technology Solutions, said: “We have organised these regional workshops so that local companies can learn about the process and discuss how their firm’s waste can be used by other businesses.
“Our team of advisors provide support and guidance to help businesses achieve the highest level of cost savings or financial benefit as possible, thereby improving their overall competitiveness and productivity.
“Industrial symbiosis is a major strand of Invest NI’s strategy to help business become more resource efficient by reducing their water, energy and waste costs and I would encourage all businesses to consider if they can take advantage of this service.”
Trevor Knipe, Director at International Synergies Ltd which manages the industrial symbiosis service said: “The matches made at the workshop will be followed up by experienced practitioners over the coming weeks and will hopefully lead to significant savings for all involved. So far this year at four other regional workshops we have helped businesses in Northern Ireland identify opportunities to save over £11m and divert over 65,000 tonnes from landfill.”
Invest NI’s Industrial Symbiosis service is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.