Waste

  • 2 December 2022

    Marine waste supply chain

    During the Re-think event held in Naples in July, Marcella De Martino, CNR’s first researcher, spoke about an exciting project they are pursuing in the marine waste management supply chain. Marcella De Martino began her speech by introducing the FIRM project, which originated from a multi-measure call from the Campania Region under the EMFF, from the old 2014-2020 programming. It is a very ambitious project that seeks to solve one of the great problems of our seas: the presence of marine litter. To better understand the project, De Martino began by presenting the background of the marine litter problem. The data she refers to can be found in the report “Mare Nostrum Mare Plasticum“, which mentions that there are currently 50 million tons of visible waste in our seas. Looking in detail at the Mediterranean Sea, it is estimated that there are about 1.2 million tons of plastic waste, another really worrying piece of information is that still today about 700 tonnes of plastic are spilled into the sea daily. European and national strategies have been particularly active on this issue for several years; it is an ongoing process that will bring results from medium- and long-term perspectives. At the moment, the recycling rate of all industrial waste is around 12 percent and Italy is among the most virtuous countries. Among the European strategies working on this front are the Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, and the Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy, which aim to foster the ecological transition and create sustainable and circular economic models. Italy has transposed the European regulations, adapting them to the national context. At the Italian level, the National Strategy for the Circular Economy, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, and the National Waste Management Program have been published, with measures...
  • 25 November 2022

    From toilet paper to value paper

    As we know, today it is especially important to be able to transform our economy from linear to circular, and during Re-think in Milan, Coos Wessels presented us with a reality that transforms waste into useful products for the market. Coos Wessels, Managing Director at CirTec, discussed what the business is doing to upgrade toilet paper to value paper. First, he explained that CirTec is an acronym for Circular Technology, in particular, they focus on the recovery of valuables from sewage and wastewater streams, using low-value residual energy for treating concentrated waste streams. His intervention focused on the recovery of cellulose from sewage. While presenting, Wessels tried to avoid the word wastewater, because as he said, sewage should be considered a valuable source of many materials and not waste. In fact, the consumption of all natural resources is still increasing worldwide, underlying the need to recover valuable materials from different sources such as sewage. For instance, in sewage, they found cellulose (which is the main element of their business) together with bioplastics, phosphate, and more. Therefore, sewage can have a significant impact. However yet, up till now only about 1% of what is in our sewage water is used. Italy, Wessels continued, is the largest consumer of tissue papers and in Europe, there are about 9.6 million tonnes of tissues consumed. However, about 6.5 million tonnes end up in the sewage system and come up at the sewage treatment plant while the rest is used for other things. In this context, CirTec can recover approximately 4.5 million tons of material saving about 4.9 million trees a year and producing a forest of 29,700 hectares. CirTec was born while looking at the Dutch water authorities and realizing that it is possible to produce energy while treating sewage. From this idea, they...
  • 4 November 2022

    Reuse wine waste

    During the Re-think Circular Economy Forum in Milan held in February 2022, we had the pleasure of listening to a talk by Silvia Buzzi, HSE and Sustainability Manager at Caviro Extra, who told us about a wonderful circular reality Silvia Buzzi takes us into the world of wine: Caviro is an all-Romagna group that has as its input to enhance the entire wine supply chain. It is also a beautiful tangible example of regenerative capitalism. Caviro is a second-degree cooperative, encompassing 29 members including 27 social wineries. It was founded in 1966 and has recovery in its DNA, because physiologically in the agricultural world it is essential not to throw anything away. The mission is to valorize members’ grapes, not only to valorize the grapes by paying them at an average price above the market price but to valorize all the by-products of winemaking because grapes hold so many surprises. There are 12,000 winemaking members scattered in seven regions of Italy, from northern Italy to southern Italy, because this makes it possible to guarantee a great variety of wines, thus satisfying the most demanding palates. Caviro’s wines range from the daily wine we know, Tavernello, and Castellino, to super-premium category wines such as Amarone Della Valpolicella. These members cultivate more than 36,000 hectares of vineyard area in Italy, this means that where there is a cooperative there is no land abandonment and this is fundamental; therefore, without land abandonment, because the remuneration is certain, we can be sure that land use change does not happen and the biodiversity that our territory needs is guaranteed. Silvia Buzzi explained that Caviro’s supply chain processes about 10 percent of Italian grapes, about 700 thousand tons per year, and makes wine from them clearly, exceeding 220 million liters of wine poured on the market,...
  • 14 October 2022

    Waste as a resource

    A2A Case study During the Re-think Circular Economy Forum event in Milan held last February, there were many speakers who brought their company’s conduct as a case study. In this case, Guglielmo Carra, Innovation Manager at A2A told us about how to manage waste to make it a resource. He started his speech by explaining that A2A is a life company that deals with the environment, water, energy, and all the necessary conditions for life. They take care of people’s well-being by providing them with those services to meet their daily needs. All this considers the principles of long-term sustainability. Looking at their investments they are planning a 10-year industrial plan with 18 billion euros in investment, of which about 60% will be focused on the energy transition, and 40% will be on Circular Economy (CE) projects and activities. In the company, they deal with different business sectors: from power generation to distribution and selling of energy, water, and gas, together with the waste collection as well. A2A business model is an integrated loop of services that allows maximizing the value of resources, such as energy, water, or materials, and for which, innovation, new technologies, and digitalization are all key enablers to accelerating the transition to a CE. On a yearly basis, the company serves about 4 million people, it collects and treats about 3.2 million tons of waste, and interestingly the recovery rate of waste as energy and materials is above 99.7%. This means that only 0.3% of the waste they manage goes to landfill, instead all the rest is processed in A2A plants with the end goal of creating a positive impact on the communities they operate in. To have a correct waste management system all the sorted waste goes into the selection plans which operate to create...
  • 16 September 2022

    Cirplus: making plastic waste history

    How creating a global marketplace for plastic recylates make plastic waste a thing of the past In 2018, cirplus’ journey began off the unlikely coast of Colombia. After building and scaling BlaBlaCar Germany – today’s largest ridesharing platform in the world – co-founder, Christian Schiller took himself on a well-deserved break. His idea was a beautiful trip around the world, sailing from coast to coast through the Caribbean to Colombia and Panama. However, on the open sea, he didn’t just have to consider the dark depths of the ocean and the irregular weather caused by global warming, he was face-to-face with a problem of magnitude – a hundred meters long dense carpets of plastic waste. Shocked, yet determined, Christian knew he had to do something to tackle this crisis. With co-founder, Volkan Bilici, web technologies veteran and blockchain expert, the idea of cirplus was born. The ambition of the founders was to create a global marketplace for circular plastics and take on the impressive task of making plastic waste history. Cirplus is the world’s-first global AI-enabled marketplace for circular plastics. Its software simplifies the currently complex trade of recyclates and plastic waste by digitalizing the complex, and largely offline, transactions of plastic waste feedstock, regrind and regranulates. Created for companies in the plastic and recycling value chain, cirplus mission is to build a platform for finding, negotiating, contracting, shipping, insuring, and paying for recyclates and plastic waste trades across the globe – a solution to the world’s plastic waste crisis. Its digital procurement platform connects waste managers, recyclers, and product manufacturers to buy and sell plastic recyclates in a reliable and cost-effective way. Using its software, it brings high-quality recyclates back into the supply chain at a lower transactional cost by using AI-enabled smart matching of supply and demand based on volumes, quality and price. Over time, AI...
  • 27 July 2022

    Recovery of Organic Waste

    During the Re-think Circular Economy Forum event held last year in Taranto among the guests who spoke was Maurizio Cianci the CEO of ASECO S.p.A – Acquedotto Pugliese began his speech by sublining that not only did he want to recount the results achieved so far by Acquedotto Pugliese (AQP) and Aseco in the field of sewage sludge treatment and the organic fraction of Municipal solid waste, but also to bring to the general attention to what can still be done and the projects in the pipeline. Acquedotto Pugliese is the manager of the integrated water service in Puglia and in addition to providing excellent drinking water to its more than 4 million inhabitants, it tasks also includes the removal and treatment of sewage. It can be said that sewage sludge constitutes the most significant processing waste in AQP’s industrial process. Taking an overview of the amount of sewage sludge produced by AQP, it emerged that in 2009, the 183 managed sewage plants produced about 160 thousand tons per year and this amount has gradually increased to reach 250 thousand tons in 2016. This was a very significant growth trend which in 2017, led to an estimate in the absence of significant interventions in 2021, an amount of sewage sludge in the range of about 380 thousand tons would be produced. Interventions to contain and reverse this trend were necessary and, therefore, additional treatment sections were introduced downstream of the purification process, such as, to mention the most significant; high efficiency dewatering, natural greenhouse sludge drying, anaerobic digestion and cellular hydrolysis. Thanks to these interventions, Acquedotto Pugliese has been able to counteract the expected increase in the production of sewage sludge, even in the face of the strong efficiencies of the managed plants and the consequent strong increase in their...
  • 29 June 2022

    International Plastic Bag Free Day

    Did you know it takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill? Even so, the bags don’t break down completely but instead photo-degrade becoming microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment. According to The World Counts, 5 trillion plastic bags are used per year, which is 160,000 plastic bags per second, which can cause major environmental challenges and active measures must be put in place to minimize its usage. International Plastic Bag-Free Day is a movement started by Rezero in 2006. The campaign against single-use plastic bags began in Catalonia by a group of people to fight for the elimination of plastic bags. It is celebrated on every 3rd July to promote environmental conservation and spread awareness on the consequences of the use of plastic bags. The birth of Plastic Bags Interestingly, Polythene, the world’s most popular plastic used as carrier bags was first discovered by accident. In 1933, a team of chemists at the ICI Wallerscote plant were working on polymers. During the process, the experiment went wrong yielding an unintended result: a white waxy residue which was polythene. This invention served a good purpose to the British military during the second World War. Polythene was used as an insulating material for radar cables during the war, and the substance was a closely guarded secret until after the war. In 1960, a Swedish company called Celloplast filed a U.S patent for tubing for packaging purposes using polythene. The initial design was better developed and in 1965, the team of three at Celloplast obtained a patent for what is now called “the T-Shirt Plastic bag”. Plastic bag quickly replaced grocery bags made from fabrics in Europe. Supermarket chains in the United States of America and all around Europe switched to single-use plastic bags...
  • 10 March 2022

    CE in the Mediterranean Sea

    During the Hacking the City event organised last April, we had the pleasure to host several speakers including Professor Francesca Pirlone and Researcher Ilenia Spadaro from the University of Genoa. Their speech focused on the role of the Circular Economy in the Mediterranean Sea and in particular on the Port-5R project for the creation of circular port-cities.    Numerous projects related to sustainable waste management have taken place for about 10 years, such as the Active project, the Med 3 R up to the Port 5-R project which ended in 2021. The projects revealed an upheaval in the concept of waste, which is now considered as a resource to be exploited, and the transition to a circular economy that aims to close the cycle, through recycling and the logic of the R, and with the objective of strengthening, growing and promoting sustainability while also generating new forms of employment. Waste therefore becomes a resource for sustainable growth, for the promotion of an economy and smart redevelopment of the city, also improving its quality of life.     How did it go from a circular economy to a circular city? Starting from the 2015 Paris COP and largely with the United Nations 2030 Agenda, where 17 common goals were identified to ensure sustainable development. In particular, in the eleventh, it is the city itself that is placed as the main character of the circular transition, as they are also becoming increasingly populated. In 1900, only 2 out of 10 people lived in cities, but by 2050 it is expected that 7 out of 10 people will live there. Cities are great centres of consumption, from food to materials to climate-changing gases. Unfortunately, they are also great centres of inefficiency, for example, private vehicles idle for 90% of their time and offices are switched off...
  • 28 October 2021

    REWOW

    Last October we had as speaker at our event, Re-think Circular Economy Forum 2020 in Milan, Antonino Biundo, CEO at REWOW srl. Antonino explained to us what REWOW is and how they aim to rewind used cooking oil into bio-based materials.  In order to understand their activity, it is necessary to comprehend what is the meaning for Used Cooking Oil. That’s the reason why Antonino Biundo started his speech describing Used Cooking Oil (UCO), which derives from vegetable oils used for food cooking, processing, and storage. As he highlights UCO are also highly polluting for the environment: only 1 litre of UCO may pollute up to 1 million litres of water. In Europe, 4 million tons of UCO is generated per year, but only 5% is collected. Zooming on Italy, we have 64% of UCO which comes from households and only 20% is collected, which is mostly used to produce biofuels with a low value on the market.   What do they do at Rewow?  They create a second life for used cooking oils and, at the same time, they want to raise awareness in order to triple the collection of this waste. To achieve this, in July 2020, they filed the patent on the Chemo-Enzymatic Process to produce innovative Aliphatic Polyesters and thus increment the added value of UCO. Indeed, the market of bioplastics is constantly growing, and it is expected to reach 28 billion dollars by 2026. Generally, the other producers of bioplastics produce their products with either synthetic or biological processes. However, biological processes are more expensive, especially for the significant downstream processing costs for their technology. The Rewow materials, instead, are produced synthetically from waste, but they have similar characteristics to the biologically produced ones, especially for the hydrolysis and flexibility. Moreover, Rewow, together with other few companies, is planning and making awareness raising campaigns....
  • 21 October 2021

    Sweet Waste

    Dolci scarti: quando il rifiuto diventa una risorsa. Lo scorso aprile durante il nostro Hackathon, Hacking the City, abbiamo avuto il piacere di avere con noi numerosi ospiti, tra cui la Professoressa Paola Branduardi dell’Università degli studi  Milano-Bicocca.   Nel 2050 il numero di abitanti sul pianeta Terra sarà all’incirca di 9 miliardi, un dato conosciuto non di recente, ma che è accompagnato da una recente percezione di poter offrire delle soluzioni alternative che siano in grado praticamente di risolvere le sfide attuali garantendo a tutta la popolazione un accesso equo a beni e servizi.   Come può il micro non essere in realtà un’altra faccia del macro?   Da quando è arrivata all’Università Milano-Bicocca, la Prof.ssa Branduardi si è occupata dei microrganismi considerandoli come gli attori principali dell’equilibrio dinamico del nostro Pianeta e studiando il ruolo che possono giocare anche nel macro ambito. Durante la sua presentazione ha spiegato che la Terra è caratterizzata al suo interno da flussi di materia di energia che non sono altro che il modo dinamico che questa ha di tenere in equilibrio la parte biotica (dove c’è vita) e quella abiotica (dove c’è materia). È fondamentale che questo flusso continui e che tutto ciò rimanga in un andamento ciclico, dove i produttori primari sono con una materia organica che poi è consumata, e qui troviamo sia organismi che microorganismi. Dopodiché, c’è la fase di decomposizione che riporta i nutrienti organici ed inorganici a disposizione. Questa chiusura del cerchio la fanno solo i microrganismi con dei metabolismi unici e la fanno sin dalla loro comparsa sulla Terra, dove sono i primissimi abitanti e sono anche la maggior biomassa vivente.   La Prof.ssa Branduardi ed il suo team, prendono ispirazione dalla natura e da ciò che già conoscono, ad esempio i lieviti, per studiarli nella loro biodiversità ed inserirvi dei principi di ingegnerizzazione che possano espanderne le...
Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial