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A Handbook of Industrial Ecology

Edited by Robert U. Ayres and Leslie W. Ayres

Industrial ecology is coming of age and this superb book brings together leading scholars to present a state-of-the-art overviews of the subject. Each part of the book comprehensively covers the following issues in a systematic style: the goals and achievements of industrial ecology and the history of the field; methodology, covering the main approaches to analysis and assessment; economics and industrial ecology; industrial ecology at the national/regional level; industrial ecology at the sectoral/materials level; and applications and policy implications.
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Chapter 25: Industrial ecology: an Australian case study

Andria Durney


Andria Durney This chapter presents an application of the industrial ecology concept at the national level, using Australia as a case study. Australia is an industrial country that is also one of the world’s biggest natural resource exporters. This circumstance provides a sharp contrast with, for instance, the UK or Germany. Before beginning, some clarification is needed on the usage in this chapter of the concepts of industrial ecology and industrial metabolism. The industrial metabolism framework can be used to identify the sources and sinks of major material and energy flows resulting both directly and indirectly from economic activities, and to estimate the magnitude, rate, composition and direction of these flows (see, for example, Wolman 1965; Lutz 1969; Stigliani et al. 1994). This information can then be used to assess the environmental impact of these materials/energy flows and the possible political, economic, technological, social and other forces driving them. Industrial ecology encompasses a broader range of issues than industrial metabolism since it can potentially consider all economies – both ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ – as well as a wider range of anthropological forces inducing industrial material flows (Socolow et al. 1994; Allenby 1992b). Industrial metabolism methodologies are therefore valuable to use within the broader industrial ecology concept. Both industrial metabolism and industrial ecology approaches can also consider the ecological importance of unpriced material flows, such as overburden from mining (Ayres and Kneese 1969; Schmidt-Bleek and Bringezu 1994). See Chapters 1 and 2 for more details of the way the industrial metabolism and...

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