Industrial ecology sees waste as a resource. It was first proposed in 1989 in Scientific American by w:Robert Frosch. Frosch vision was "why would not our industrial system behave like an ecosystem, where the wastes of a species may be resource to another species ? Why would not the outputs of an industry be the inputs of another, thus reducing use of raw materials, pollution, and saving on waste treatment ?"
Industrial ecology proposes not to see industrial systems ((e.g. a plant, an w:ecoregion, or national or global economy) as being separate from the w:biosphere, but to consider it as a particular case of an w:ecosystem - but based on w:infrastructural capital rather than on w:natural capital.
Along with more general energy conservation and material conservation goals, and redefining w:commodity markets and w:product stewardship relations strictly as a service economy, industrial ecology is one of the four objectives of Natural Capitalism. This strategy discourages forms of amoral purchasing arising from ignorance of what goes on at a distance and implies a political economy that values natural capital highly and relies on more instructional capital to design and maintain each unique industrial ecology.