Transforming industrial waste into raw materials in Turkey

Posted November 30, 2021

The project will draw on the experience of other regions and other countries, and examples were presented at today’s launch event.


“Industrial symbiosis” to promote responsible production in Izmir region

Izmir, 30 November 2021 – In an effort to transform the “circular economy” from theory to practice, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today joined forces with the Izmir Regional Development Agency (IZKA) to launch a new US$ 3.7 million initiative designed to show how one industry’s waste can be transformed into another sector’s valuable raw materials. Dubbed “industrial symbiosis,” the idea originates in the Nordic economies. Izmir is an ideal region to pioneer this approach in Turkey given its leading role in exports to the European Union, which will soon impose strict controls on imports as part of its European Green Deal.

“Climate change and the pandemic show us that we have pushed nature too far,” said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. “We need to find an economic model that can deliver prosperity to people without constantly destroying precious natural resources. Industrial symbiosis offers us one way to start meeting that goal.”

Over four years, the project aims to create the preconditions for industrial symbiosis by building a platform for coordination among different industrial actors; generating supportive research and analysis; ensuring a conducive legal framework; overseeing pilot initiatives; and drawing lessons learned from Izmir for nationwide expansion.

“Our aim is to show how ‘going green’ can give businesses a competitive edge,” said IZKA Secretary General Dr. Mehmet Yavuz. “By reducing waste and encouraging productive use of resources such as  energy and water, industrial symbiosis can significantly reduce costs.”

“Encouraging collaboration across companies and sectors can make us more efficient in resource use,” said Ahmet Şimşek, Deputy Director General of the General Directorate of Development Agencies. “This new project will help us all to realize that what may be garbage for one industry represents be valuable inputs for another.”

The project will draw on the experience of other regions and other countries, and examples were presented at today’s launch event. Business executives attending the event welcomed the planned creation of a platform to pinpoint potential opportunities and also the training and networking opportunities the project will provide. The potential is rich, they said, and synergies will emerge naturally once the preconditions are established by UNDP and IZKA.

Contact Information: Meral Mungan Arda, UNDP Turkey, +90 454 11 00,


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