Opportunities and Barriers in the Beneficial Utilisation of Process Industry Residues: from resource efficiency towards sustainability philosophy

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Research units


This doctoral dissertation describes novel material efficiency possibilities that exist within the forest products and ferrous metals sectors, the associated opportunities for, and institutional barriers to, solid residue utilisation within the Bothnian Arc Region in Western Finland. The way in which industrial symbiosis and industrial ecology approaches can be applied to the cooperation of multiple formerly separate industrial sectors is investigated, including the inter-industry utilisation of production residues for the manufacture of novel residue-based symbiosis products. A multidisciplinary research methodology is used to analyse: potential inter-industry cooperation to achieve improved eco-efficiency to support sustainable development, the residues involved, their characteristics, current and potential utilisations, novel inter-industry symbiosis product ideas and their environmental performance. The important issue of how symbiosis can be encouraged through addressing institutional aspects for residue handling and the changes that would support increased opportunities for efficiencies are explored and timely yet practical recommendations made to support this. Recommendations include requiring new approaches based on the waste hierarchy and life-cycle thinking, as well as further clarification of the implications of ‘end-of-waste’ legislation and criteria for product systems with multiple residue streams. Other recommendations encompass the application of best available techniques approaches to material efficiency and waste recovery in process industry environmental regulation and guidance, as well as addressing implications of the chemical safety of residue streams and residue-based products. Findings suggest that EU instruments claiming to encourage a comprehensive approach to sustainability, including consistency between various instruments, also need to be bolstered by integrated industry related instruments and soft law type approaches acting as guidance at appropriate levels. An overaching theoretical effort in this dissertation asks whether efficiency seeking is capable of delivering sustainable systems under the dominant paradigm of ecological modernisation if the absolute decoupling of industrial production from environmental impacts depends on wider systemic aspects. The incommensurability of the paradigmatic basis of industrial symbiosis with that of a wider, more sustainable form of industrial ecology is also explored and a case made for the continued application of both through support for pluralism in our ecological metaphors.


Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Professor Olli Dahl

    , Supervisor
  • Heino, Jyrki, Advisor, External person
  • Poykio, Risto, Advisor, External person
  • Nurmesniemi, Hannu, Advisor, External person
  • Aalto University
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5689-0
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5660-9
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

    Research areas

  • eco-efficiency, sustainability, industrial symbiosis, industrial ecology, solid residue, waste policy, recycling, end-of-waste, institutional barriers, symbiosis products, life cycle assessment

ID: 18354200