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The 2020 Report on the Circular Economy in Italy, developed by CEN (Circular Economy Network) in collaboration with ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) and Fondazione Sviluppo Sostenibile, analyses the state of play of the circular economy in Italy with, this year, a particular focus on the bioeconomy.
The report was presented during the 2nd National Conference on the Circular Economy livestreamed on 19 Marchfrom Rome. It was introduced by Edo Ronchi, President of CEN, and Roberto Morabito, Director of the Department for Sustainability, ENEA, and President of the Italian Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ICESP).
Making the transition to a circular economy requires a pressing need for new skills, competences and approaches. Education, and training have a critical role to play in delivering and updating these skills.
The Erasmus+ CYCLE project created a set of tools and resources to support adult trainers in developing and expanding their professional and educational skills in the circular economy.
The Cycle Competence Centre (CYCLE CC) is a platform where educators can find training and guidance tools in 6 languages to help them introduce circular economy in different learning environments.
The Italian Phosphorus Platform was set up to mirror the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform, following an agreement between ENEA, the platform manager, and the Italian Ministry of Environment. This platform aims to reach national self-sufficiency in the Italian phosphorus supply with a circular approach.
Phosphorus a European critical raw material, with Europe being almost completely dependent on third countries for its supply (phosphate rock: 81%, phosphorus: 100%), and its end-of-life recycling rate is very low (phosphate rock: 17%, phosphorus: 0%) (source: 2017 list of Critical Raw Materials).
The platform features 4 working groups: market, technologies, legislation and good practices. More information on good practices in phosphorus recycling is available here (in Italian).
The Roman public transport provider, Atac, has launched +Ricicli +Viaggi (the more you recycle, the more you travel), a pilot scheme in which riders can pay for travel with PET plastic bottles.
By identifiying good practices in turning biomass to heat or power, the uP_running project is unlocking the strong potential of woody biomass residues produced by Agrarian Pruning and Plantation Removals.
In March 2019, the Italian Circular Economy Network hosted a national conference on the circular economy, where it presented this Report on the Italian circular economy in 2019. Based on the methodology used, comparing the 5 most important European economies, Italy is the top performer in terms of circular economy implementation, ahead of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain (in this order). While Italy’s position has remained unchanged compared to the previous year, there are some small signs of a slowdown which must be taken into account.
The report makes the following 10 proposals for a circular economy in Italy:
- Spread and enrich circular vision, knowledge, research and good practices
- Implement a national strategy and action plan
- Improve the use of economic instruments
- Promote a regenerative bio-economy
- Integrate circular principles in public procurement
- Promote city initiatives
- Ensure rapid and effective implementation of the 2018 EU waste framework legislation
- Rapidly activate an effective end of waste (EoW) regulation
- Ensure the necessary business support infrastructure
- Extend circular principles to e-commerce
The Network Economia Circolare (Circular Economy Network) is a multi-stakeholder platform hosted by the Fondazione per lo sviluppo sostenibile (Sustainable Develpoment Foundation) to promote the Italian circular economy.
A mix of professional and technical associations, innovative companies and civil society organisations promote the network, which is open to all companies that intend to share these goals by taking concrete actions and commitments. As of 2019, the network counts 13 promoters and a couple dozen members.
The Network Economia Circulare focuses on three core activities:
- yearly conference on the circular economy
- annual report outlining the state of the circular economy
- Sustainable Development Prize for journalists and creatives
With FarmacoAmico, CiboAmico and Cambia il Finale, the HERA has moved beyond its core business to actively prevent medicines, food and bulky goods from becoming waste.
REDEL is an energy provider in Italy. Its activities comprises decommissioning outdated energy installations (de-risking), generating a vast amount of discarded power cables. The PVC Upcycling project aims to initiate a circular model for reclaiming resources by:
- de-manufacturing: recovering the PVC of electric cables coming from decommissioned energy plants;
- re-manufacturing: recycling of the same PVC in products with low environmental impact.
Along with PVC, copper and aluminium are also reclaimed and turned into metal granules for new production purposes.
Giovanardi recycles technical acrylic textiles from solar protection industry, to create the Raytent line of high-quality yarns and fabrics.
GIDA purification plant: PPP providing high-quality water for the textile industry while limiting water consumption
GIDA is a wastewater treatment plant that helps meet the needs of the local textile industry by supplying water of sufficiently high quality, while keeping water consumption to a minimum.
Fra’ Sole is a sustainability project involving the monumental complex of Saint Francis of Assisi and its nearby areas, which has resulted in the elimination of disposable products, infrastructure for rainwater reuse and a 20% reduction in waste overall.
R-PVC Hub is an innovative web platform, connected to the site of PVC Forum Italia, that offers the possibility for the exchange of recycled PVC, putting in contact offers and demands. The heart of the service is an online platform on which manufacturing companies, processors and recyclers can find new business opportunities.
Enea has designed the first Italian industrial symbiosis platform, as a tool to facilitate the process.
The ENEA methodology is based on a "horizontal" network approach, with the aim of creating synergies and closing the loop between supply and demand for various resources.
The Platform is based on:
- an expert structure that identifies possible solutions of industrial symbiosis
- a complex information structure, also georeferenced, which describes the territory, its structures, the interlocutors and available resources
- a network that connects different interlocutors
- a web interface.
Among other activities and services, Symbiosis is able to send to to each company individual reports containing information on potential matches of interest. It is also developing operating manuals for industrial symbiosis.
La Polveriera: recycling old military warehouses into a vibrant space for civic and social initiatives
The "Polveriera" is an urban regeneration project that converted an ancient military warehouse into a beautiful civic centre hosting several activities: learning and residential centre for disabled people, offices for cooperatives and NGOs, co-working space, auditorium, a shop and a restaurant-cafè.