Usually we think of industry working at odds with the environment, but what if they could work in tandem? That’s the goal of Garbis Simonian, Industrial Ecology chairman and Weston Aluminum founder.
His proposed $425 million dollar eco-park would be built in partnership with other like-minded companies and constructed on 40 acres that surround Simonian’s Weston plant in the Hunter region of Australia.
If Simonian’s proposal can survive the red tape and financing hurdles ahead, the first stage of the Hunter Industrial Ecology Park would be complete in 2013.
“What we’re trying to do is create a group of recycling technologies or the infrastructure that can handle a whole range of wastes that are produced in the ‘Hunter,’” Simonian told ABC News.
The waste materials produced by and for the companies within the eco-park would be recycled into products for drainage construction, fuels, energy, and much more. Even the water would be recycled.
In addition, the eco-park’s recycling of an estimated one million tons of waste per year would create new jobs. In a recent article, Simonian stated that, “For every job in landfill we can create 5.2 jobs in recycling.” This would amount to approximately 500 new jobs once the project is complete.
There are also plans for an energy recovery plant at the Hunter eco-park, which would recycle the methane byproduct of landfill waste into fuel.
In the U.S., Gaston County, NC has already built an energy recovery plant as their first step toward the construction of a fully operational industrial eco-park. “The whole concept of that industrial park is to have an eco-industrial arrangement where businesses can feed off of each other. One benefit to us is that it would divert things like organic waste and extend the life of the landfill,” Gaston County public works director Ray Maxwell recently told the Gaston Gazette.
The outcome of these trailblazing eco-parks could spark the restructuring of industrial development across the globe—making today’s trash tomorrow’s gold.