Partnership for Industrial Ecology in Central OhioEPA Grant Number: R833348
Title: Partnership for Industrial Ecology in Central Ohio
Investigators: Fiksel, Joseph , Bakshi, Bhavik R. , Long, Mike
Institution: The Ohio State University , Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO)
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: March 1, 2007 through January 31, 2010 (Extended to February 28, 2012)
Project Amount: $299,581
RFA: Collaborative Science And Technology Network For Sustainability (2006) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Sustainability
Despite its promise industrial ecology (IE) is practiced only sporadically in the U.S. and has not been pursued consistently at a regional scale. Aside from technical and economic challenges, an important barrier is behavioral inertia among industrial firms and consumers. To overcome these challenges, the Partnership for Industrial Ecology in Central Ohio (PIECO) was launched as a collaboration between The Ohio State University, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, and several regional partners. PIECO’s mission is to promote a systems approach based on sound science and informed decision-making. The project will support this mission by pursuing the following objectives:
- Develop a systems-level model of resource flows and interdependencies in Central Ohio.
- Implement decision tools for evaluating costs and benefits of innovative IE opportunities.
- Promote acceptance of IE innovations by regional businesses, citizens, and public agencies.
This project will develop and apply an Industrial Ecosystem Toolkit to explore innovative IE policies and technologies. We will construct a network model of resource flows using material flow analysis and economic input-output methods. Within this framework, we will evaluate potential IE innovations proposed by PIECO partners, using tools such as thermodynamic life cycle assessment, impact assessment, systems dynamics, and multi-objective cost-benefit analysis. Results will be disseminated to regional stakeholders through a variety of channels, including websites, educational materials, and public meetings. SWACO will take the lead in seeking investments and capital approval for selected innovations. The toolkit will be made broadly available for application to other regions.
PIECO’s application of the above tools will support the promulgation and adoption of IE practices in Central Ohio, yielding both environmental and economic gains. Our target is a 15% reduction in waste disposal to landfill by 2012, equivalent to avoiding approximately 150,000 tons per year, coupled with a 15% increase in resource productivity. More broadly, we anticipate that dissemination of these results to other regions will help to:
- Advance both theory and practice of IE by demonstrating a pragmatic systems approach.
- Provide useful decision tools, data, and indicators for quantifying the benefits of IE.
- Establish a model for public-private collaboration in other U.S. communities and regions.