The Circular Economy, an Italian success story

According to Eurostat, Italy tops the leading European nations in the use of circular material in the production system at almost one fifth of the total (18.5%), compared to Germany’s 10.7%. In terms of efficiency in material consumption, Italy is second only to Great Britain, with 256.3 tonnes per million euros of product, and second only to Germany in industrial recycling with 48.5 tonnes of non-toxic waste recovered (ahead of France, Great Britain and Spain). This amount saves primary energy equivalent to over 17 million tonnes of oil per annum and approximately 60 million tonnes of CO2 emissions (data from the Environmental Research Institute of Italy). 

Today, an international benchmark in the Italian economy is reuse and recycling, particularly when it comes to measuring circularity. This was cited by Francesco Starace and Ermete Realacci who advocate “raising the bar of circularity” in Europe, transforming an environmental issue into an opportunity for Italy. The ability to reuse and transform waste and by-products represents an economic value for companies and therefore a competitive advantage. It is an opportunity relevant to almost every sector, from the chemical industry to agriculture, from construction to mechanics and from clothing to electronics.

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