Circular economy transition in Italy. Achievements, perspectives and constraints | P Ghisellini, S Ulgiati | Journal of Cleaner Production

This study evaluates the transition to CE in Italy on a sample of 292 organizations after introducing a brief overview of the main principles of CE (reduction, repair, reuse, recover, remanufacturing, recycling) as well as how they are implemented at macro level. With regard to the sample we analysed the data related to the circular business models adopted by the selected organizations, with also a focus on CE implementation at the meso levels given that it also entails the adoption of cooperation strategies between companies.The results point out that several types of organizations (companies for profit and non-profit, research centres/universities) are involved in the transition to CE with different sizes (small, medium and large) and economic sector’s specializations.Recycling resulted to be, among the so called 6R practical framework, the preferred practice of most of the organizations involved over the whole supply chain, from the collection of post-consumption waste to the recovery, recycling and production of secondary raw materials.The other “principles” such as repair, reuse, remanufacturing are progressing well, mainly within small companies, where several laboratories deal with the reuse of products and their selling in second hand shops, or in the recovery and redistribution of food surplus and the remanufacturing of personal computers. The “reuse”, in particular, has constantly increased in the last five years thanks to the on-line sales.Some companies also deal with the dissemination of the CE culture (by means of different channels such as cultural events, actions and best practices to avoid plastic abuse, repair cafés, urban regeneration and urban mining projects) that includes the diffusion of all its principles and concepts such as in particular the prevention and reduction of waste and the maintenance of the value of products. In that, such companies and their activities provide with the opportunity of shifting the concept of CE beyond the current social political debate centred on recycling. Hopefully, this will contribute to unlock and promote the preventive vision of the CE.

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