What can we do to make our economy more circular? We can start from the separate collection of waste, which allows to reinsert the materials collected in a new production process as secondary raw materials. According to Circle Economy’s Circularity Gap Report, the current percentage rate, calculated as the ratio between recycled materials and the total amount used as input in production processes, is only 9.1%. There is still a lot to do. But local initiatives, aiming at involving citizens in an active way to raise awareness on the topic, are more and more frequent. This is where Evergreen Recycle, an Italian company founded in 2015, started up. It provides incentivizing waste compactors, which directly reward citizens with discounts to be used in local businesses or, in some municipalities, even with discount on the waste tax. How does it work? The steps are simple. Citizens insert the differentiated waste, plastic for example, in the compactor, they identify themselves through the social security number and they immediately receive a printed discount coupon or other forms of incentive. Furthermore, each device provides data on the CO2 emissions savings obtained. The initiative “You recycle, I reward you”, linked to the incentivizing eco-compactors, is already active in several Italian municipalities. In each case an ecosystem of collaboration has been created among local administrators, local businesses and citizens attentive to the theme of circular economy, with very interesting and performing results.
The green economy is growing. Thus, we read in an article published on La Stampa and also appeared on Forbes in June. The topic is the 50×30 club, the elite of American States that have decided to aim for a 50% target of energy from renewable sources by 2030. It comprises four American states: New York, Hawaii, California and Vermont. New Jersey has now joined the group of four and has declared its intention to reach the threshold of 100% renewables by 2050. But the real news is that the choice of field of this club of “virtuosos” has generated, from 2009, a gross domestic product higher than that achieved overall by the US. In the symbol state of California, La Stampa writes, the green economy has created 520,000 green jobs: such a massive development that it has become the fifth largest economy in the world after having climbed over the United Kingdom. Only Germany, Japan, China and the United States have a higher GDP. And while economic growth and the Californian population have had increasing rates over the past 25 years, CO2 emissions have held steady per capita rates. Since California, in 2006, under the leadership of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has approved an important global warming law, per capita GDP has increased by $ 5,000, more or less twice the national average. The increase in employment has surpassed that of the first economy in the world by 27%, while per capita emissions of carbon dioxide have decreased by 12%, according to the Green Innovation Index of the think tank Next10. California is the state that emits less greenhouse gases in the US. Thanks to constant improvement coupled with a growing attention to the environment, homes consume 75% less energy than in the ’70s, despite the impetuous growth of the Californian economy has recorded an increased rate of 80%.
The Circular Economy Network – the circularity observatory created in Italy by the Foundation for the Sustainable Development and a group of 13 companies and business associations, including the GRT Group – has launched the first National Prize “Circular Economy Startups”, dedicated to all startups that develop projects and activities inspired by the principles of circular economy. In order to participate, the startups should submit their ideas by September 24th, 2018: starting from this date the Award Commission, chaired by the GRT Group CEO and Vice President of the Circular Economy Network, Luca Dal Fabbro, will begin to select the ten most innovative ideas in the field of circular economy. The projects and activities of the participating companies will be judged on the basis of specific parameters including the effectiveness of the expected environmental results, the innovative content, the potential economic results and the possibility of diffusion, both in Italy and abroad. Among the ten finalist ideas, the three winners identified will be given the opportunity to join the Circular Economy Network on a free basis. The award ceremony will take place on the occasion of a public event organized by the Circular Economy Network and there will also be a publication containing the references of the companies selected and the reasons that led the jury to award them.
For more information and registration: http://circulareconomynetwork.it/premio-economia-circolare/
According to the “Italy of the Recycling 2017” report, the recycling sector, with 8.4 million tonnes of waste being recycled and an average growth over the previous year of the 3%, has reached a value of 23 billion Euros, which is equivalent to 1% of the country’s GDP. The reuse of recovered waste materials, through the separation of urban waste, is a brilliant example of the advantages of the circular economy: at the end of their life cycle, products and materials are processed and transformed into new resources, from which to generate new consumer goods. There are many positive aspects: the reduction of the cost of raw materials, the minimization of the quantity of waste going to landfills and, last but not least, the reduction of environmental pollution. Plastic is at the top of the most recycled materials in Italy; according to the data collected by Legambiente and the Corepla Consortium, 550 out of the 960 thousand tonnes of plastic waste collected have been reused, thus avoiding their accumulation in landfill and their dispersion into the environment.