Circular guide

RENEWAL MATTER

Didactic Units 3

From a Linear to a Circular economy to regenerate matter and use it in new production processes. The obligations for companies and how they can measure their circularity.

The Circular Economy has as its first objective to reduce the consumption of raw materials by reusing recycled material, avoiding as much as possible the waste of resources and reducing the environmental impact generated by production. To achieve this, it is necessary for companies to review their production and consumption styles, based on the creation of synergies between the same departments or between different companies.
In this way, they will be able to generate a multiplicity of values through:

  • The sustainable design of easily repairable products, with recycled materials and easy to dispose of once they reach the end of their life;
  • The optimization of use of resources in the production phase and in the procurement phase, preferring the recycled materials market;
  • The progressive decrease of the production of waste and the start of a recovery chain rather than disposal.

These principles are able to ensure a renewal of the material by not wasting it and building production cycles in analogy with the natural ones.

In addition to the interest on the part of companies in reviewing their supply chain, their production process and the purpose life of their products to make a transition to the circular economy, they will also have to pay attention to the continuous change of the regulatory environment in these sectors.

In TEACHING UNIT 1 : (“ The Company as a protagonist “) introduces the path that the European Commission has traced with various tools and directives to encourage the Circular Economy. In addition to being a change of course that the industrial sectors of the member countries must undertake, they are also regulatory obligations that must be respected in order to encourage the renewal of the matter.

The new obligations for businesses

The “ Circular Economy Package ” is a regulatory instrument envisaged by the EU Action Plan which modifies the main EU rules on waste , namely:

  • Directive 2018/849 / EU amending Directives 2000/53 / EC (end-of-life vehicles), 2006/66 / EC (batteries, accumulators and related waste), 2012/19 / EU (WEEE, waste electrical and electronic equipment).
  • Directive 2018/850 / EU amending Directive 1999/31 / EC (landfills of waste);
  • Directive 2018/851 / EU amending Directive 2008/98 / EC (Waste Framework Directive);
  • Directive 2018/852 / EU amending Directive 94/62 / EC (packaging and packaging waste).

The four new directives have been in force since 4 July 2018 but the inserted rules, not having direct effect in the legal systems of the member states, must be implemented by the individual EU countries through their own provisions. In Italy, the national translation of the Circular Economy Package is provided with by law 117/2019 (EU Delegation Law 2018) and will come through legislative decrees of modification of the following measures:

  • Legislative Decree 3 April 2006, n. 152 (so-called “Environmental Code”, implementing EU regulations on, among others, packaging and waste);
  • Legislative Decree 13 January 2003 n. 36 (implementation of Directive 1999/31 / EC on waste landfills);
  • Legislative Decree no. 209 (implementation of directive 2000/53 / EC on end-of-life vehicles);
  • Legislative Decree 20 November 2008 n. 188 (implementation of directive 2006/66 / EC on batteries);
  • Legislative Decree 14 March 2014 n. 49 (implementation of directive 2012/19 / EU on WEEE).

In attachment to this article you can download the main new obligations that Italian companies will have to comply with once they have been transposed into national legislation.

To find out about the new obligations for businesses:

From a linear to a circular economy for the renewal of matter 

From a linear to a circular economy for the renewal of matter

It is clear, even from the upcoming regulations, that greater obligations will be imposed for the development of the circular economy. A fundamental role is the one assumed by companies and the world of production, whose role must be refounded according to the need to guarantee a lower environmental impact and a greater social and economic development .
Equally necessary is the change that must take place in the consumption model, where the behavior of citizens-consumers must be more inspired by models of social and environmental sustainability.Taking as a reference objective 12 of the SDG’s for Sustainable Development, one of the 6 objectives that represent the circular economy detailed in the TEACHING UNIT 2 (“The Principles of Circular Economy “), it is clear that we must think about the profound questioning of the consolidated economic system up to now, as it is based on a linear model: that is, a model in which the manufacturing companies have as their sole interest the increase in sales and the placing on the market as many products as possible, without worrying about their end of life and without thinking about what possible damage their products may cause on the environment.

This model seems to foresee a management indifference at its extremes, where in the procurement phase there is no concern about drawing heavily on natural resources, thus without worrying about their availability in the long term. In the final phase, we don’t worry about what type of waste your product will generate, what medium and long-term impacts it can cause to the environment and society, and we don’t even worry about possible recovery and recycling solutions.
The alternative can therefore only be a change in the reference model passing from a linear to a circular approach .

The circular economy makes it clear, already in its simple schematization, that there is no longer a distance between the “birth” and the end of life of a product, since the production cycle begins with the acquisition of recycled raw materials and natural resources, that is already used in previous production cycles, recovered from scraps and waste and regenerated to be reintroduced into a new production cycle.
It should be emphasized that Recycle is not the only principle on which the circular model is based: also Prevention, Reduction and Reuse are equally fundamental. This approach reflects the waste management hierarchy envisaged by Directive 2008/98 / EC, in which a precise order of priority is established, to underline that for the European legislator it is not equivalent to apply methods that reduce waste at source or to have identified a series of sites where to go to bury the waste once it has been collected, albeit according to all the legal criteria and with all the attention to the environment.
According to this logic, the first – and most important – action to address the issue of waste is not to produce.
Working for a reduction of waste at source, thanks to an ever deeper attention to the design of the products, which must be conceived in such a way as to allow easy separation of the materials used, which must subsequently be able to be sent for recovery and to reuse. A company must become aware of the different approach to be taken in the production and market positioning phase, first of all understanding its positioning in the circular economy.

Measurement and environmental impact of the company 

The question that arises spontaneously to a manager who wants to change course of his own reality, is how to be able to understand what is the level of circularity and what are the positive or negative externalities that your company generates. To be able to identify which are your limits to improve or opportunities to be seized with a circular approach, there are several measurement tools such as DEGREE OF CIRCULARITY of Circularity.
This tool designed for businesses allows you to:

  • Measuring with a specific indicator, declined in the corporate context;
  • Evaluating the conditions for the transition to the circular economy;
  • Communicating one’s potential in an objective key to external parties, such as funding bodies, investors, partners.

Then there are other process or product certifications, such as ISO14001 or EMAS certification, which allow for company management guidelines and guarantees that help to respect the principles of sustainability. In the TEACHING UNIT 3.4 the certifications are presented.

To find out about the new obligations for businesses:

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