Abstract: Industrial Symbiosis: Old Wine in Recycled Bottles? Some Perspective from the History of Economic and Geographical Thought

Pierre Desrochers


Industrial symbiosis (IS) is a central concept in the industrial ecology literature; it describes geographically proximate inter-firm relationships involving the exchange of residual materials, water, and energy. Despite its obvious relevance to regional science, economic geography, and urban economics, the issue is only beginning to be addressed in these sub-disciplines. This situation is paradoxical, as both recovery linkages and the very concept of IS were discussed in some depth by numerous economists and geographers several decades ago. This paper summarizes this intellectual history, in the process providing a better understanding of the phenomenon while shedding additional light on current controversies.