Skip to main content


Log in

Development of the Tool SymbioSyS to Support the Transition Towards a Circular Economy Based on Industrial Symbiosis Strategies

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Waste and Biomass Valorization Aims and scope Submit manuscript


The European Commission is focusing its efforts on boosting the circular economy, and industrial symbiosis is one of the main strategies to be used. Businesses, consumers and administrations must learn to efficiently use resources and identify new forms of cooperation. The aim of this contribution is to present SymbioSyS, a tool based on ICT-web systems to promote the sustainable use of resources through IS strategies and to facilitate networking among companies and businesses. The SymbioSyS tool supports the following objectives: (1) The building of a large database that stores both tacit knowledge of experiences and practices and explicit information about activities (2). The detection of potential synergies for substitution and mutuality and providing a feasibility study. An ontological framework has been developed to set hierarchical classifications to process the information and identify synergies (3). The visualization and mapping of IS by georeferencing to analyse variables such as distances, transportation routes and optimal locations for new facilities. This has been implemented as a client–server model that allows multiple users to simultaneously connect and store large amounts of information; users access the application from a web-service. The tool has been tested within an industrial park community consisting of 25 small and medium sized enterprises from different industrial sectors (e.g., automotive, building sector), allowing the visualization of both types of synergies, the exchange of resources and joint waste management opportunities. The functions and performance of the tool are demonstrated through the case study.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. European Commission: Circular Economy Package: Questions and Answers. Guidance Document. Accessed 9 Feb 2016

  2. European Environment Agency: Waste: a problem or a resource. Accessed 2 Mar 2016

  3. European Commission: The road to a circular economy. Magazine Environment for Europeans. Accessed 2 Mar 2016

  4. Donald, A.R., Brian, C., Yunmin, C.: A circular economy model of economic growth. Environ. Model. Softw. 73, 60–63 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Boulding, K.: The economics of the coming spaceship earth. In: Jarrett, H. (ed.) Environmental Quality in a Growing Economy, pp. 3–14. The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore (1966)

    Google Scholar 

  6. Andersen, M.: An introductory note on the environmental economics of the circular economy. Sustain. Sci. 2, 133–140 (2007)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Ruiz, M.C., Romero, E., Evans, S.: Industrial symbiosis opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises: preliminary study in the Besaya region (Cantabria, Northern Spain). J. Clean. Prod. 87, 357–374 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Cecelja, F., Raafat, T., Trokanas, N., Innes, S., Smith, M., Yang, A., Zorgios, Y., Korkofygas, A., Kokossis, A.: e-Symbiosis: technology-enabled support for industrial symbiosis targeting small and medium enterprises and innovation. J. Clean. Prod. 98, 336–352 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Iacondini, A., Mencherini, U., Passarini, F.: Feasibility of industrial symbiosis in Italy as an opportunity for economic development: critical success factor analysis, impact and constrains of the specific italian regulations. Waste Biomass Valoriz. 6, 865–874 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. George, D., Chi-ang Lin, B., Chen, Y.: Acircular economy model of economic growth. Environ. Model Softw. 73, 60–63 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. PostgreSQL-es. Portal en español sobre PostgreSQL-es. Documentación. Accessed 1 Feb 2016

  12. Silberschatz, A., Korth, F.: Fundamentos de bases de datos. McGrawhill, Madrid (2006)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Pons, O., Ruiz, N., Rodriguez, J.M., Carrillo, S., Miranda, M.A.: Introducción a las bases de datos: El modelo relacional. Thomson Paraninfo, Madrid (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  14. Valhondo, D.: Gestión del conocimiento: Del mito a la realidad. Ediciones Díaz de Santos, S.A., Madrid (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  15. INE. Code of products and activities. CPA08. CPA08: Accessed 1 Feb 2016

  16. LER: Accessed 1 Mar 2016

  17. Argerich, L., Egervari, K., Anton, M., Lea, C., Killian, C., Hubbard, H., Fuller, J.: Professional PHP4 XML.Wrox, cop. Birmingham, UK (2002)

  18. Ruiz, M.C., Romero, E., Perez, M.A., Fernandez, I.: Development and application of a multi-criteria spatial decision support system for planning sustainable industrial areas in Northern Spain. Autom Constr. 22, 320–333 (2002)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Massard, G., Erkman, S. (2009). A web-GIS tool for industrial symbiosis-preliminary results and perspectives. In: Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Informatics for Environmental Protection: Concepts, Methods and Tools, EnviroInfo 2009. Berlin, Alemania, 9–11 Septiembre

  20. API Google Maps: Accessed 1 Feb 2016

  21. Doménech, T., Davies, M.: Networks: phases in the evolution of industrial symbiosis networks. Bus. Strategy Environ. 20, 281–296 (2011)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Raymond, L., Howard-Grenville, P.: The evolution of facilitated industrial symbiosis. J. Ind. Ecol. 16, 83–93 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Isenmann, R., Chernykh, K.: The role of ICT in industrial symbiosis projects-Environmental ICT applications for eco-industrial development. In: Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Informatics for Environmental Protection: Concepts, Methods and Tools, EnviroInfo 2009. Berlin, Alemania, 9–11 Septiembre

  24. Grant, G.B., Seager, T.P., Massard, G., Nies, L.: Information and communication technology for industrial symbiosis. J. Ind. Ecol. 14, 740–753 (2010)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Aparici, R.: Conectados en el Ciberespacio. Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid (2013)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Roberto Álvarez.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Álvarez, R., Ruiz-Puente, C. Development of the Tool SymbioSyS to Support the Transition Towards a Circular Economy Based on Industrial Symbiosis Strategies. Waste Biomass Valor 8, 1521–1530 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: