Incentives to promote the circular economy
Ref research presents three proposals to address and accelerate the waste management process.
Italy is a country that still does not give enough credit to the circular economy, but a triple proposal to push this system has arrived. It comes from Ref research laboratory, an independent organisation that supports companies, institutions, government bodies in cognitive and decision-making processes. The project in question starts with the recycling of packaging, which represents about 8% of all waste produced. The objective is: recovering the material and transforming it into a new product, with a later reintroduction to the market avoiding the consumption of new natural resources.
Given the absence of proper facilities and infrastructures for adequate waste management, Italy has a further obstacle facing the creation of an economy that is truly "circular" and that meets the objectives set by the European Union. However, the implementation of these infrastructures is neither simple nor immediate and, therefore, it is important to find intermediate supporting solutions.
The question, therefore, arises spontaneously. How to promote the use and exchange of secondary materials? So far the guidelines have been bans and sanctions, but the way to go in the long term is another. In this regard, a solution would be represented by incentives and economic tools capable of making waste management consistent with what is defined as the waste hierarchy, also known as the ranking of best practices (from the most to the least sustainable) which sees in the last position landfill disposal.
Incentives are part of a mechanism in which operators increase social well-being, and discourage behaviours aimed at damaging our planet. They are in line with the approach indicated by the Recovery fund, that asks members of the European Union to complement the economic support offered by the EU budget with the appropriate reforms.
Returning to the aforementioned proposals, we can distinguish three categories:
Recycling Certificates (Certificati del Riciclo);
White Certificates (Certificati Bianchi);
EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
Certificati del Riciclo would be offering the industry the stability of revenue prospects necessary for the installation of the above-mentioned recycling plants. In fact, these securities would be linked to the circular economy, attesting the recycling of a ton of packaging waste of a certain quality and material and would be freely negotiable in a regulated market, with prices that would move against the trend of those of raw materials.
With regards to those waste flows not covered by specific producer responsibility obligations, such as non-packaging plastics, Ref proposes a second incentive tool: tradeable securities called Certificati Bianchi, which could extend their scope of application to demonstrate the energetic and environmental efficiency that originates from the use of secondary raw materials instead of virgin ones.
Last but not least, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. This proposal refers to climate-altering emissions, particularly reduced if linked to the production of secondary raw materials. This aspect could influence the decision-making processes of industrial sectors, allowing the recycling to be much more attractive. As for costs to comply with legal obligations, manufactures could both decrease direct and indirect costs, where the first are referred to quotas, while the second type concerns the transfer of CO2 costs into energy prices.
Soluzioni Plastiche Srl has also become part of such initiatives, launching its own Recycled Plastic Traceability certification. Our hallmark, attached on each of our invoices, represents the effort we put into our work, assessing an efficient and trustworthy internal tracking and tracing system, so that our customers do not have to worry about managing this too.
In line with our vision, this certification has the main objective to contribute to the circular economy, providing compounders and inject moulders with a certificate usable for all the post-consumption and post-industrial recycled plastic.