Title: Learning from history or from nature or both? Recycling networks and their metaphors in early industrialisation

Authors: Pierre Desrochers

Addresses: Department of Geography, University of Toronto, 3359 Mississauga Road North, Mississauga, Ontario L5L 1C6, Canada

Abstract: Despite widespread current beliefs to the contrary, much evidence indicates that past entrepreneurs, managers, and technicians were often able to create recycling networks between firms, in the process generating both economic and environmental benefits. The author shows that the basic insight of the industrial ecology metaphor, that is, using nature as a model or inspiration for creativity in loop-closing, was well understood in the second half of the 19th century. New evidence is presented to support these assertions, along with some speculations as to why the past industrial ecology perspective had to be independently rediscovered and popularised in recent years.

Keywords: industrial ecology; metaphor; recycling networks; spontaneous order; sustainable development; Lyon Playfair; Peter Lund Simmonds; Victor Shelford; nature; creativity; nineteenth century; history; industrial recycling; industrial waste recovery.

DOI: 10.1504/PIE.2005.006777

Progress in Industrial Ecology, An International Journal, 2005 Vol.2 No.1, pp.19 - 34

Available online: 14 Apr 2005 *

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