Industrial Ecologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Industrial Ecologists Career Video



Applies principles and processes of natural ecosystems to develop models for efficient industrial systems. Uses knowledge from the physical and social sciences to maximize effective use of natural resources in the production and use of goods and services. Examines societal issues and their relationship with both technical systems and the environment.

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Science and Mathematics pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Identifies environmental impacts caused by products, systems, or projects.
  • Examines local, regional or global use and flow of materials or energy in industrial production processes.
  • Identifies or develops strategies or methods to minimize the environmental impact of industrial production processes.
  • Prepares technical and research reports such as environmental impact reports, and communicates the results to individuals in industry, government, or the general public.
  • Analyzes changes designed to improve the environmental performance of complex systems to avoid unintended negative consequences.
  • Reviews research literature to maintain knowledge on topics related to industrial ecology, such as physical science, technology, economy, and public policy.
  • Recommends methods to protect the environment or minimize environmental damage from industrial production practices.
  • Builds and maintains databases of information about energy alternatives, pollutants, natural environments, industrial processes, and other information related to ecological change.
  • Identifies or compares the component parts or relationships between the parts of industrial, social, and natural systems.
  • Redesigns linear, or open loop, systems into cyclical, or closed loop, systems so that waste products become inputs for new processes, modeling natural ecosystems.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Ecologist --
  • Environmental Consultant -- Advises on such areas as pollution, contaminated land and environmental policy and can involve fieldwork, conducting tests and surveys, collating and presenting environmental data and auditing processes for efficiency and environmental impact.
  • Environmental Programs Manager --
  • Environmental Protection Agency Counselor --
  • Environmental Services Director --
  • Environmental Sustainability Manager --
  • Research Environmental Engineer --
  • Research Scientist --
  • Researcher --