Three workshops held recently in Kilkeel, Londonderry and Belfast by Invest Northern Ireland have helped 70 local businesses to identify over £18 million in potential cost savings.
The workshops focused on the concept of industrial symbiosis which introduces businesses that have unused or wasted resources, such as materials, heat, transport, production capacity, skills or storage, to other businesses that could use those resources.
The companies came together to network and identify potential solutions for resources as diverse as shot blast grit, used business cards, waste water, wet fibre yarn, oak sleepers and shellfish shells. A total of 407 matches were identified through the three workshops and in the coming months, the businesses involved will collaborate across industry sectors to implement many of the ideas generated.
As well as producing cost savings, the collaborations between businesses could lead to landfill diversion of 176,938 tonnes.
Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Technology and Process Development, says: “The industrial symbiosis workshops were an effective way of putting businesses in touch with each other and helping them to identify how waste from one business could be used as a resource by another.
“The benefits of industrial symbiosis are not only in the cost savings for the companies involved but also in the positive impact on the environment from reduced landfill. The challenge now is for companies to work through what has been identified and deliver the savings thereby reducing their costs and improving their bottom line.”