In order to achieve economic development compatible with the requirements of environmental development, the concept of industrial ecology was born; its aim is the optimization of the industry – environment relationship, through improving efficiency in the use of materials and energy and the creation of strategic partnerships and cooperation among firms, both locally and on large areas. This paper aims to develop a model with the application of the principles and tools of industrial ecology in the high risk industrial area sited in eastern Sicily (Syracuse – Melilli – Priolo), in order to illustrate and encourage sustainable development path concerning the analyzed area in terms of environmental and socio-economic impacts. In particular, this study makes an initial mapping of the most important productive activities in the studied area and the identification of implementable forms of co-operative management of major environmental issues, analyzed through the evaluation of the flows of materials and energy inputs and outputs in each productive process. This model may be a first approach to industrial symbiosis applied to a large area, where can be possible the implementation of an effective cooperative management system in different and various ways, including joint management of infrastructure and services, use of wastes as raw materials, systems of industrial waste water treatment, etc. To this aim, the most important production processes and firms are initially identified, from both economic and environmental point of view. Then are identified all the actors involved, to which to apply this model and suggest possible ways of cooperation, aiming at the development of purposes mentioned above. This model, here proposed in a critical area from the point of view of environmental impacts, can also be applied to other large industrial areas with different production characteristics.
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