Written by Dana Boyer

This past week we left Beijing and spent 4 days in Qinhuangdao visiting various industries. The range of industries was rather diverse, with 10 separate interviews on one day alone. Interviewed industries included waste water treatment, LED production, solar panel construction, and aluminum production, to name a few.

Aluminum production plant

Aluminum production plant

Part of our research in China is exploring the potential for the use of industrial symbiosis as an implementation to work towards greater urban sustainability and resource efficiency. Essentially industrial ecology and symbiosis is the linking of industry through their resource streams to result in greater net resource efficiency in the whole ecosystem. Through the linking of industry, the waste from one factory can become the raw material of another. For example, the heat from one plant, rather than being dissipated in a river or the atmosphere, can be used to fulfill the heating needs of a nearby factory.

Lion guarding a company entrance

Lion guarding a company entrance

In Beijing, we learned the concept of, and value of industrial symbiosis, and then traveled to Qinhuangdao, to interview various industries in order to determine the potential for their participation in industrial symbiosis. Through these interviews, we gathered information on their waste output and energy and waste requirements in order to try and create linkages. Interviews were a challenge, as they were conducted in a mix of English and Chinese in order to try and form a strong channel of dialog despite a rather large language barrier. Bravo to our Chinese classmates who made this possible!

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