Sustainability at Willow Lake: A Case Study in Service-Learning and the Successful Implementation of Industrial Symbiosis
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Industrial ecology explores how industrial systems can function more like natural ecosystems. Industrial symbiosis is a subfield of industrial ecology and aims to develop mutually beneficial scenarios for the economy and the environment. The purpose of this study is to explain how industrial symbiosis networks can be created and implemented successfully. This study provides a narrative to describe how Willow Lake Water Pollution Control Facility, once a facility only for the management of wastewater, is now a multi‐purpose asset for a range of organizations with waste disposal needs. Central to the Willow Lake narrative is a service‐learning partnership between City of Salem and University of Oregon. The narrative was developed with eight interviews and supporting documents. The study concludes with recommendations for universities, cities, and state governments. Recommendations include: State governments should provide funding for cities interested in service‐learning partnerships; economic development departments should use an inventorying process; economic development departments that use an inventorying process should assess their ability to function as third party facilitators; Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) and other universities engaged in service‐learning programs should suggest industrial symbiosis projects to partner cities; and industrial symbiosis partners should stay current with changing economic values of materials exchanged in their network.