There are so many good ideas in circulation out there that it would be a shame not to take advantage of them. One idea that caught my attention was the concept of an “eco industrial” park. An article of the same name was published by the Sustainable Urban Development Association (SUDA).
As they explain, “the concept is relatively simple: generate as little waste as possible while reducing the energy consumption and carbon footprint per industry, contributing to the sustainability of the whole system. The waste produced by one industry becomes the fuel/production material for another industry. This ensures that materials and energy are recycled and all industries involved share energy through cogeneration, and reduce their waste through recycling of materials between each industrial operation.”
They also suggest that cooperation can go beyond exchanging waste outputs, to encompass sharing pollution controls, green building design, joint job training or research and development.
The most prominently ‘green’ industrial company in Innisfil is probably Poraver Inc. located near highway 400. It recycles used glass into specially-formed spheres with unique properties for use by other manufacturers of many building products such as cements, mortars, finished panels and building components. Poraver already captures waste heat for reuse in its process. It has considerable capacity for growth and expansion. What types of processes and product manufacturing could benefit from locating near this company? Could Innisfil be a regional supplier of sustainable building designs, products, and technologies?
There are many other eco-industrial concepts worth examining. What waste products are generated by other companies in this industrial area? What new industries or processes could potentially locate here to use them as inputs? What skills, if any, are common to multiple manufacturers in Innisfil? What other types of industry could benefit from this skill set? How can existing manufacturing processes here be adapted to innovate new products? Creative thinking and innovation will play a key role in invigorating Innisfil’s industrial potential.