National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP)
Topic of the practice
Industry, knowledge transfer, waste reduction
Good Practice Information
The National Industrial Symbiosis Programme is a free business opportunity program that delivers bottom line environmental, social & economic benefits. Industrial symbiosis brings together traditionally separate industries and organisations from all business sectors with the aim of improving cross-industry resource efficiency and sustainability. It does this through the physical exchange of materials, energy, water and expertise and skills. NISP is a national programme, delivered at the regional level across the UK. Each of the twelve regions has a team of dedicated industrial symbiosis practitioners working closely with businesses in the area to raise the profile of industrial symbiosis and to recruit members to the programme. NISP has a substantial portfolio of case studies in which the programme has enabled one organisation or business to take another's waste and use it as a resource. E.g. the identification of processors that could help to divert waste from a cheese manufacturer from landfill.
AJ & RG Barber (farmhouse cheddar) got involved with NISP through one of its synergy workshops. It was looking for a reuse solution for its wooden waste pallets. It soon emerged that the wooden boxes used to age the cheddar were a more problematic material and so once a processor had been identified for the wooden pallets, NISP began approaching wood recycling firms to assess the opportunities for diverting the old cheese boxes from landfill. After a number of negotiations with companies from its network, NISP identified that Mendip Woodshavings was able to take the waste and blend it with other material ready for reuse. MW, who already provided Barber with farm products such as animal bedding, was able to collect the used cheese boxes on its return journeys, saving Barber the cost of both transportation and landfill gate fees, and freeing up a substantial area of the site which had previously been used for storage. The boxes were then mixed with other material to produce wood shavings.
Evidence of success
NISP demonstrates the kind of programmes and synergies (and thinking!) that are likely to have a very prominent position in the industrial sustainability sectors moving forward. It is a common sense approach which, through building relationships and facilitating knowledge sharing between business and industry, helps individual companies to realise susbtantial savings. It also, through knowledge transfer, allows expertise in one area or business to be joined with another, bringing benefits to both. The programme has received widspread recognition and many plaudits. Between April 2005 and March 2011, the programme oversaw: 8 million tonnes of material being diverted away from landfill; 7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide saved; 11 million tonnes of virgin materials saved and cost savings of 196 million Euros.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
NISP East of England, c/o Scott Wilson Ltd
Annex completed on: 07-19-2011