CIRCULAR ECONOMY: WASTE DOESN’T EXIST – LONG LIFE WASTE

Thursday, 3rd september 2020 | Circular economy
Marco Arezio - Consulente materie plastiche - Circular economy: waste doesn’t exist – long life waste

We remove the word rejection from the vocabulary of the circular economy

It is not an exercise in academic vocabulary, what would like the word Waste to disappear from the vocabulary to be replaced by – Resource – but a provocation that helps us understand how, in a period in which the words – Circular Economy and Waste – take on a ‘importance in general communication, we do a little confusion and difficulty understanding its true terms and implications.

The circular model that is so much talked about, is not only to try to do our best, as citizens, to have a life that is more respectful of the environment, therefore reduce packaging, reduce the use of plastic, rationalize the travel by means of vehicles with heat engines, regulate heating or air conditioning to avoid waste, rationalize the use of water, encourage companies to make purchases while respecting the environment and disadvantage those who do not.

We could mention many other virtuous behaviors to keep, but we must not forget that the circular economy is achieved through continuous cultural growth that can help our planet.

We must not be satisfied with small daily gestures, which are also very important, but we must look, with an open mind , at how to improve our life as “circular ” citizens , because the ideas of many can help the production and distribution system.

In the circular economy chain there are still neglected and unexpressed areas, due to communication deficits, a managerial structure and a part of consumers who have not really understood the importance of the topics covered, an incorrect scale of values in which money plays an important role in everyone’s choices.

We find these areas in many production and distribution sectors on which we should work better to give a more concrete result to the common project of an economy and a life less impacting on the environment.

The first thing to do is to declassify the word waste and reclassify it as a resource . The bottle of water that we throw away is not a waste, to take a trivial example, it is the resource that will allow companies to produce, again, other bottles, clothing, padding for sofas, articles for packaging without affecting natural resources.

The second thing is the production of articles with materials that can be 100% recycled, it can no longer happen that the placing on the market of a product, a packaging for example, does not take into account the recyclability parameters and can constitute, for the collectivity, a refusal that is not a resource.

The third thing, in the age of super fast internet, is circular cross communication , which means that the production waste of a sector that cannot be reused again within it, can become a resource for other sectors. The web platforms are also used to communicate, in fact, transversally, real-time information that can solve immediate and concrete problems.

Each industrial sector is burdened by a part of processing waste which, despite careful analysis, cannot be reused within it, but must be made available to other sectors, so as to be able to discover the potential of the product-waste that it can be used in different fields, so as to create a transversal circular economy.

To give some examples, certainly not exhaustive, we can mention:

  • The waste from the paper sector could be valued in the plastic sector
  • Coal combustion waste could be used in the ceramics field
  • The scars of stone processing and demolition in the construction sector
  • Glass waste in furniture and concrete
  • The sludges of some industrial processes can be used in various sectors.
  • The discharges of composite plastics can become powder for compounds
  • The scraps of some non-recyclable plastic waste to be used in the bitumen sector

There are many other examples of sectors that already exchange waste-resources , but the problem that the numbers are decidedly low and many of the products described and others not mentioned, today, still end up in landfills and, sometimes, even for lack of communication, which creates new opportunities and a new circular model.

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