Montag, 21.05.2018 03:28 Uhr

The new circular economy and Aquafil: a case study

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Rome, 02.05.2018, 09:32 Uhr
Nachricht/Bericht: +++ Wirtschaft und Finanzen +++ Bericht 4280x gelesen

Rome [ENA] Waste management in the EU has enhanced considerably in recent decades, over a quarter of municipal waste is still landfilled and less than half is recycled or composted, with wide variations between Member States. Improving waste management could deliver positive effects for the environment, climate, human health and the economy. As part of a shift towards a circular economy, the European Commission

made four legislative proposals introducing new waste-management targets regarding reuse, recycling and landfilling, reinforcing requirements on waste prevention and extended producer responsibility, and streamlining definitions, reporting obligations and calculation methods for targets. Wide differences exist between Member States regarding the treatment of municipal waste, generated mainly by households, which represents around 10% of the total waste generated in Europe, measured by weight. The share of recycling and composting among waste treatment methods ranges from 64% in Germany to 12% in Malta and Slovakia (EU average: 44%).

The new circular economy package sets out ambitious recycling and landfilling targets. Managing waste in a more efficient manner is the first step towards a circular economy, where most if not all products and materials are recycled or re-used repeatedly. To turn waste into a resource, waste management objectives must be aligned with the goals of a circular economy transition. There’s an interesting case study concerning circular economy in Italy: Aquafil. Since 50 years, Aquafil has been one of the leading players, both in Italy and globally, in the production of Polyamide 6. The Group is a leader in the research of new production models for sustainable development.

The dedication to research and development led to the regular renewal of processes and products thanks to continuous investments of capital and knowledge. Aquafil started to utilize, for example, abandoned fishing nets and old carpets which represent just a few examples of the waste that are used to produce ECONYL® yarn, a top-quality regenerated nylon fiber, used by groundbreaking carpet manufacturers who make sustainability one of the pillars of the business. The circular economy can be a true solution against landfilled waste and there are circular economy firms which want to get back their waste in order to utilize it and continue to produce.

On 18 April, MEPs of the European Parliament adopted the circular economy package, which establishes new legally binding targets and fixed deadlines for waste recycling and the reduction of landfilling. It will still need to be approved by the Council before it can enter into force. The package includes a common EU target for recycling at least 55% of municipal waste by 2025; this target would rise to 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035. Also envisaged is a common EU target for recycling 65% of packaging waste by 2025, and 70% by 2030.

There would be separate targets for specific materials. By 2035, no more than 10% of municipal waste would be deposited in a landfill. Critical raw materials (CRMs) are a new focus for waste policy. The concentration of high value and ‘critical’ (in terms of supply security) materials in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and certain types of end-of-life batteries makes them a particular target for increased recovery efforts. The EUs Raw Materials Initiative (EU RMI) aims to tackle the challenges of high dependency on imported materials and the security of supply of such materials.

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