Circular economy: there are savings, but not enough

According to PoliMi data, in Italy we are only 15% towards the objectives set for 2030

There is much discussion about the circular economy and its foundations as one of the main factors of the ecological transition and eco-sustainability. In fact, in recent years recycling, reuse, reconditioning they are not just words on the lips of many, but virtuous actions implemented by a growing number of businesses and citizens. Applying the principles of circular economy, in short, means prolonging the product life cycle, which also translates into economic savings, as well as naturally reducing the quantity of waste of all kinds. Savings which, in 2022 alone in Italy, were quantified at 1.2 billion euros. A considerable figure overall, but not enough compared to what was set for 2030. Currently, with a total of 15.6 billion euros saved as a result of circular economy practices, in fact, we are only at 15% of the objective of a total of 103 billion to be achieved by 2030. Which means, to be able to reach the finish line, we would have to save 11 billion per year between now and 2030, tenfolding the effort produced in the last year. These are some of the data that emerged from Circular Economy Report 2023 developed by the Energy&Strategy of the School of Management of the Polytechnic of Milan. What are the causes of this delay? The Report above all indicates the scarcity of private investments in the circular economy compared to other large EU countries. On the other hand, in our country there is a high capacity to recycle waste, but it is completely insufficient compared to the general picture which increasingly suggests the path of reuse rather than recycling. However, some positive ideas emerge from the Report. Italy is second in terms of number of patents relating to the circular economy and there are 210 circular startups that have raised funding amounting to 122.7 million euros.

70% of Italian companies take their first steps

The fact that our country is quite behind the 2030 circular economy objectives is not only revealed by the data on economic savings cited above. The PoliMi Report, carried out on companies in the 7 main production sectors, indicates that 59% of large companies have adopted at least one circular economy practice, but only 29% of small ones and, among these, in one year they have increased from 38% to 47% those who do not intend to make investments in the circular economy. If we talk about the transition towards the circular economy, only 2% of companies declare they have completed it and 70% are taking the first steps. The data are affected by investments that are still too low, in over half of the cases less than 50 thousand euros. Among other obstacles to developing circular economy practices, companies point to high investment costs, regulatory uncertainty in the sector and lack of incentives.

The most and least virtuous sectorsThere is much discussion about the circular economy and its foundations as one of the main factors of the ecological transition and eco-sustainability. In reality, in recent years recycling, reuse, reconditioning are not just words on the lips of many, but virtuous actions implemented by a growing number of companies and citizens. Applying the principles of circular economy, in short, means extending the life cycle of products, which also translates into economic savings, as well as naturally reducing the quantity of waste of all kinds. Savings which, in 2022 alone in Italy, were quantified at 1.2 billion euros. A considerable figure overall, but not enough compared to what was set for 2030. Currently, with a total of 15.6 billion euros saved as a result of circular economy practices, in fact, we are only at 15% of the objective of a total of 103 billion to be achieved by 2030. Which means, in order to reach the finish line, we should save 11 billion a year between now and 2030, tenfold the effort produced in the last year. These are some of the data that emerged from the Circular Economy Report 2023 developed by the Energy&Strategy of the School of Management of the Polytechnic of Milan. What are the causes of this delay? The Report above all indicates the scarcity of private investments in the circular economy compared to other large EU countries. On the other hand, in our country there is a high capacity to recycle waste, but it is completely insufficient compared to the general picture which increasingly suggests the path of reuse rather than recycling. However, some positive ideas emerge from the Report. Italy is second in terms of number of patents relating to the circular economy and there are 210 circular startups that have raised funding amounting to 122.7 million euros.

70% of Italian companies take their first steps

The fact that our country is quite behind the 2030 circular economy objectives is not only revealed by the data on economic savings cited above. The PoliMi Report, carried out on companies in the 7 main production sectors, indicates that 59% of large companies have adopted at least one circular economy practice, but only 29% of small ones and, among these, in one year they have increased from 38% to 47% those who do not intend to make investments in the circular economy. If we then talk about the transition towardscircular economy, only 2% of companies declare having completed it and 70% are taking their first steps. The data are affected by investments that are still too low, in over half of the cases less than 50 thousand euros. Among other obstacles to developing circular economy practices, companies point to high investment costs, regulatory uncertainty in the sector and lack of incentives.

The most and least virtuous sectors

Going into detail about the individual production sectors, the most virtuous is Construction where 61% of companies have adopted at least one circular economy practice, followed by Industrial Plant Engineering with 48%, Food & Beverage third with 41%. On the contrary, the sectors least inclined to the circular economy are the Furniture and Furnishings sector with only 20% of companies having adopted at least one practice, followed by Automotive with 25% and Consumer Electronics with 33%. There are also companies that have not started any circular economy practice and have no intention of adopting it in the near future: in particular 60% of companies in the Automotive sector, 52% of Furniture and Furnishings, 45% of Textiles.



Source-www.adnkronos.com