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Organizations can become more sustainable in their daily operations by trying to copy the types of processes that occur in nature. This is known as ‘industrial ecology.’ Industrial ecology aims for zero-waste production and efficient use of materials. Nature is the ideal system to model industry after, because it generates no overall waste - any waste created by one organism is used up by another. Nature is also very efficient in using energy and resources for long-term survival.

Recently, some industries in the United States have started to use the industrial ecology concept to adapt their industrial processes to become more efficient and generate less waste.

Industrial ecology can also been seen working in real life in eco-industrial parks. Eco-industrial parks are physical locations, composed of several businesses or industries that work with, and depend on, each other. The waste from one business or industry can be used by another. An eco-industrial park is like an artificial "ecosystem." It generates very little to no waste and is very material efficient.

The EPA is currently developing pilot projects to locate new eco-industrial parks on brownfields – using up unwanted land to create sustainable industry.



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