Plastic and paper: Italy transforms waste into resources

Plastic and paper: Italy transforms waste into resources
Economia circolare

Italy has emerged as the champion of the circular economy, surpassing the European Union average with an impressive recycling rate of 83.4% in 2022. This achievement represents a significant leap forward compared to other major European countries such as France, Germany, and Spain, which recorded lower percentages of 64.4%, 70%, and 59.8% respectively. Italy’s accomplishment places it in a position of environmental leadership and showcases its efficiency in waste management, going above and beyond regulatory requirements and becoming a reference model at the continental level.

The GreenItaly Report 2023: A Manifesto for the Environment

Now in its fourteenth edition, the GreenItaly Report stands as a prominent document in mapping Italy’s environmental progress. Developed by the Symbola Foundation and Unioncamere, with the contribution of numerous partners and the support of the Ministry of Environment and Energy Security, the report analyzes the dynamics of the green economy through a collaborative process involving over 40 experts. Insights derived from text mining reveal a shift in sustainability-related language towards concrete terms that reflect a change in the approach to environmental concerns, with a particular emphasis on the transition towards a more sustainable and resilient society.

The Path to Excellence in Recycling

The Italian success in recycling cannot be discussed without acknowledging a two-decade-long journey of continuous improvement. Starting from the 1990s, Italy has witnessed a substantial increase in recycling rates, particularly in the plastic and paper sectors. With 31 sorting plants and 92 recycling facilities, the country has met and exceeded expectations, showcasing an environmental commitment that also has a positive economic impact. The 10% increase from 2010 to 2020, in contrast to Europe’s modest 6%, demonstrates the impact of Italy’s forward-thinking environmental policies.

The Plastic Sector: A Case Study

The 2022 Sustainability Report by Corepla provides an exemplary illustration of the tangible benefits of plastic recycling. Not only has a significant volume of virgin raw materials been saved, but CO2 emissions have also been significantly reduced. These results not only highlight the effectiveness of the measures implemented but also demonstrate the potential for environmental progress to go hand in hand with economic well-being.

National Strategy for the Circular Economy: The Future is Now

Italy’s strategic document for the circular economy, included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), lays solid foundations for a zero waste society. This ambitious plan includes the expansion of the secondary raw materials market and the introduction of advanced sharing practices. Italy’s holistic approach focuses on direct citizen involvement and support for emerging industries such as the blue economy and bioeconomy, creating a favorable context for the transition towards a sustainable and circular economy.

Italy, therefore, sets itself as a virtuous example and a reference point in the field of the circular economy, with a vision that extends to 2040 and beyond, indicating a direction that other countries could follow to achieve a more sustainable and ecologically responsible future.