In order for society to secure a healthy environment and reach sustainability, there is a need for reconsideration of municipal environmental management (MEM). Among other things, the potential roles of a municipality in regionally oriented environmental management and development planning have to be further analysed. In this paper, MEM is confronted with the concept of industrial ecology (IE). In particular, the role of a municipality in developing regional industrial ecology, and, vice versa, the role of regional industrial ecology in developing MEM, will be reflected upon. It is argued that a municipality, serving as an institutional anchor tenant, may provide the regional IE effort with the needed institutional support. In return, regional IE seems to have the potential to provide a basis for increased co-operation between public and private actors of a region as well as integration of regional environmental and development issues. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.