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News Bornholm Towards a Zero-Waste Future with Industrial-Urban Symbiosis 

Bornholm Towards a Zero-Waste Future with Industrial-Urban Symbiosis 

On the Danish island of Bornholm Industrial-Urban Symbiosis (I-US) is more than a theory. The island transforms wastewater from wheat to make pasta and uses wastewater from beer production to grow more crops. 

The strategy is clear: Bornholm’s goal is to become zero-waste by 2032 and Industrial-Urban Symbiosis is the key to this challenging purpose. The actions in place were presented during the Waste Management Europe Conference, held in Bergamo (Italy),  in the session “Industrial(-Urban)Symbiosis: Urban Waste and Wastewater as a Resource”.

Bornholm strategy 

Bornholm today can be defined as Ecosite: a place, developed by the SYMSITES project, where new technologies and solutions are used to value industrial and urban waste and transform it into feedstock for industrial processes. 

As a relatively small island where everyone knows each other, citizens of Bornholm can easily cooperate and share resources they don’t need. Bakeries, breweries, restaurants, vineyards, art shops, bookstores, and cinemas are all turning what could be waste in one production process into valuable production materials for another. 

Industrial-Urban Symbiosis in Bornholm is reducing waste generation, consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, extending resource extraction and lifetime and minimising biodiversity loss. Moreover, every person living on the island is doing their part, and this encourages community engagement and cohesion.  

Becoming an actor of change

Bornholm’s work is a great example of the Industrial-Urban Symbiosis cycle proposed by SYMSITES and clearly shows the link between I-US, circular economy and social cohesion.

To further support cities and regional governments in implementing I-US activities, the SYMSITES project at the Waste Management Europe Conference launched its Network of Waste Associations: another step to encourage collaboration, innovation and sustainability among local communities.