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Circular Economy: one hundred stories of Italian excellence in the report of Fondazione Symbola and Enel
Talking about circular economy is nothing new, indeed terms such as environmental sustainability, green, recycling, have entered our daily vocabulary. Telling one hundred stories of Italian companies that represent excellence in the circular economy is intended, on the one hand, to contribute to defining the perimeter within which Italy is moving and, on the other, to highlight the potential of the circular economy, at every level, offering interesting food for thought.

This is what emerges from the Report "100 Italian Circular Economy Stories" by Fondazione Symbola and Enel, 100 stories of circular economy Made in Italy that look at quality and innovation in a circular way: from agribusiness to fashion, from packaging to mechanics, from wood-furniture to construction and finance, intersecting electronics and chemistry.


Italy holds the European record for circular economy

Italy is the European leader in circular economy; in fact, it is the European country with the highest percentage of recycling of all waste, 79.4%, almost double the EU average (49%) and well above all other major European countries (France 66%, Germany 69%). Waste sent for recycling (117 million tons), which are used as materials in the building/infrastructure sector (50% equal to 59 million tons) and in the manufacturing industry (33% equal to 39 million tons).

"The shortage of raw materials - said Ermete Realacci, president of the Fondazione Symbola - has prompted us to use that source of renewable and non-polluting energy that is human intelligence. In this way we have built a more efficient system: the scrap metal of Brescia, the rags of Prato, the paper mills of Lucca are not the result of a decree, but the response to a need.


100 Italian Circular Economy Stories

These 100 stories, while representing only a small part of the many virtuous examples of circular economy in our country, show how it is central to the green economy and essential to address the climate crisis, while offering new and better development opportunities.

The search for material and energy efficiency is common to most of the companies surveyed, an aspect that has direct effects on costs, productivity and therefore competition. There are many solutions aimed at preserving the quality of materials at the end of the life cycle of products and those that use renewable inputs and those coming from recovery and recycling processes. But innovation starts right from the design phases, with eco-design approaches aimed at extending the useful life of products, looking at new consumption models.

The circular economy offers the opportunity to bind together the supply chains in a process of industrial symbiosis, where the waste of a company, or a sector, becomes raw material for another. A strategy that, looking at the industrial districts, is already part of the DNA of our country. The cross-section highlights the need for new skills (or the rediscovery of ancient arts), new products and new processes that can feed a greener and, for this reason, stronger Made in Italy.


From the Report emerges an Italy in the vanguard

The Report traces the profile of an avant-garde Italy, which rewards quality, innovation and environmental sustainability and which is believed to be a stimulus for an ever wider diffusion and replication of best practices.

Among the 100 businesses featured in the Report are, for example, ecological panels made from 100% post-consumer wood (Gruppo Saviola); furniture made from post-consumer or recyclable materials and designed to be easily disassembled at the end of its life (Arper); e-commerce sites specializing in the rental of clothing, shoes and accessories (DressYouCan); digital platforms dedicated to the sharing of materials, machinery and construction equipment (Edilmag); innovative technologies for the mechanical and chemical recycling of waste (NextChem); non-profit companies dedicated to the development of projects, strategies and engaged in the dissemination of knowledge on the theme of circular economy (Tondo).