Within the context of concurrent global waste and resource crises, there is significant interest in promoting circular economies. One of the identified ways to facilitate greater circularity is through replicable practices of industrial symbiosis, where industries and other organizations exchange waste and by-products resulting in economic, environmental, and social benefits. This paper investigates the role of a particular critical legal mechanism – property rights – in enabling industrial symbiosis by drawing on the experiences of waste and by-product exchanges within three industrial symbiosis case studies located in Kalundborg (Denmark), Peterborough (United Kingdom), and Rotterdam (the Netherlands). In order to determine whether property rights are incentives, facilitative mechanisms, barriers, or opportunities, the Schlager-Ostrom taxonomy is applied. Case findings evidence that different property regimes can have facilitative effects on circularity within industrial symbioses. There is thus no absolute support presumed in favor of one particular property rights regime over others; property regimes are flexible and hence allow for case specificity.
Bibliographical noteThis is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
- Property rights
- Industrial symbiosis
- European Union
- Circular economy