Industrial ecology is a global research community that studies the systemic relationships between society, the economy and the natural environment. Disciplines from the natural sciences, engineering, economics and social sciences examine material cycles in society and their interactions with nature. Such analyses focus on different levels, from eco-industrial parks and cities to nations and the global economy, in order to reduce their environmental impact and contribute to sustainable and resilient development.
The term "industrial ecology" is derived from the recognition that economic systems and ecosystems are similar. Industrial ecology is based on concepts from ecology, including material and energy cycles, complex adaptive systems and ecological networks. From an industrial perspective, it is not only the purchase of raw materials and their environmental impact that is of interest, but also the analysis or exchange of waste that can be used as a resource. The focus here is on closing cycles and the circular economy.
The Resource Lab therefore deals with quantitative methods such as material flow analysis, life cycle assessment, social life cycle assessment, linear programming and indicator development as well as new approaches for the circular economy. The Resource Lab is represented at ISIE conferences and is a member of the Society of Industrial Ecology.