Less waste and more resources, the circular economy makes Italy great

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10:32 am

5 August 2021

After Germany, Italy is the EU country that recycles the most, and this makes it one of the most careful countries in the constant development of a circular economy. European policies are constantly pushing for each country to gradually abandon the concept of a linear economy and embrace the circular economy. Economic development in this sense would translate into an epoch-making change in terms of economic, employment and environmental benefits. By consuming fewer raw materials, production processes would be more efficient and produce less waste, which, instead could also be transformed into resources.

RECYCLING IN ITALY

The 2020 figures published by Conai (National Packaging Consortium) are clear: Italy recycles 73% of the packaging it uses and if we add to this the reuse of energy as fuel, the total amount of packaging diverted from landfill is 83.7%. A percentage translated into numerical terms equal to about 11 million tons of resources that are not buried in landfills but become a resource to produce new economy. This is a new production process in line with EU directives, with a view to achieving circularity of production, which promotes growth and investment.

LINEAR ECONOMY AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY

What differentiates the two economic systems is their development philosophy and production concept. In the linear economy, the basic concept is to produce an object, use it and throw it away. It is called a line precisely because once the product has been consumed, it exhausts its cycle, its usefulness, and becomes waste. This economic chain is therefore forced to always repeat the same pattern based on 4 assets: extraction, production, consumption and disposal. The circular economy, on the other hand, completely overturns the concept by placing the ability of an object to regenerate itself at the production base. How? By planning its composition and the materials used, the subsequent production cycles for its reuse, reducing waste to a minimum. The idea of the circular economy therefore envisages that the materials of which a product is composed can be reintroduced into the economic cycle once its function has been completed.

ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL OPPORTUNITIES

Fostering the implementation of the circular economy on a large scale, in addition to protecting the environment and allowing a product to be put back on the market, can stimulate new investments in research, development and sustainability, turning waste into treasure. Industry analysts are certain of this, stressing that companies should focus not only on research into innovative products, but also on more effective disposal methods (such as the chemical conversion of plastic into fuel) and recycling (both chemical and mechanical). These technologies, if applied in the economic sectors with the greatest impact in terms of waste production, such as plastics or textiles, will not only be useful for the well-being of our planet, but will prove to be, for those who know how to seize them, unique investment opportunities, with an immense capacity to accelerate their potential development assets by accompanying the ecological transition towards a circular economy rather than a linear one.

EUROPEAN GREEN DEAL

The EU’s goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 by stopping net greenhouse gas emissions is part of a strategy to rethink most production in a green and sustainable way. In this sense, the “Next Generation EU” recovery plan and the subsequent PNRR drawn up by Italy and approved by Brussels are a step in the direction of a circular reworking of the economy, revising the very concept of industrial production, which can no longer take place without a constant capacity to innovate while preserving the environment and the planet.

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