Circular economy

Circular Italy: companies to use eco-friendly materials

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

The project will be presented at Ecomondo, with the cooperation of Matrec, an observatory that helps companies on their way to the circular economy.

An exhibit of recycled and recyclable materials, the real protagonists of the circular economy, helping companies to innovate and respect the environment: this is what can be admired these days at Ecomondo, the sustainability fair of Rimini, in the exhibit area of Circular Italy, inside the Sustainable City, Pavilion B7. This initiative was realized with the fundamental contribution of Matrec, an international observatory on sustainable innovation of materials. Matrec offers consultancy services to companies that seek to innovate their production cycle by using sustainable materials. Recycling Point has interviewed Marco Capellini, the CEO of Matrec.

What does Matrec do?

“We collect sustainable materials from all over the world in the fields of packaging, vehicles, architecture, interior design, sports and fashion. Then we catalogue them, examine all their properties and offer them to companies that are interested in ecoinnovation.”

How do you collect these materials?

“We have set up a network of relationships that allows us to keep up to date with the latest market developments. We contact the companies directly, build relationships and add the materials to our database through a technical data sheet, pictures, and possible certifications. Moreover, basing on this data we realize reports about market trends and scenarios. This way we can counsel companies according to their geographic position and basing on specific materials.

What kind of companies usually get in touch with you?

“We don’t have a specific client type. Our clients span from multinationals working on concept projects or research and development projects, to small and medium-sized enterprises looking for innovation opportunities. We get the most diverse requests: searches for a specific material, market trend studies, sustainable materials to be used as an alternative to materials the clients currently use. Often enterprises don’t realize the environmental potential hidden in the materials they are already using, so we help them with a thorough screening of their product to find out whether they need to improve anything, and if yes what. Many companies contact us to ask how to make the best out of their production waste: in that case we look for somebody who has already worked with that kind of materials and suggest possible solutions. We recently developed a method that allows us to calculate the degree of circularity of a product: we basically obtain a complete picture of the product in its whole life cycle, including its future recycling.”

Why should a company choose to adopt certain materials?

“There are many reasons. There are specific markets that explicitly require the use of environmental friendly materials to participate in their calls for tender, such as the Green Public Procurement. In some cases, clients themselves demand environmental sustainability standards when they buy the product. In addition to this, some sectors are regulated by specific norms. And of course, there are producers who base their whole business philosophy on sustainable production, so as not to remain behind the day environmental sustainability becomes the norm.”

Did you notice a change in the awareness of consumers, and consequently of producers?

“If you look up marketing surveys, it seems like almost everybody in Italy and in Europe chooses environmental friendly products. Last year we made a global review of the surveys carried out on these themes: the data we obtained was even too positive, and it didn’t really mirror the market situation. There’s been a huge rise of awareness in the past few years. But keep in mind that price is the thing that really controls the market, and especially during a crisis, price is the heaviest factor considered by customers, even really motivated ones. But one thing is sure, over the past few years we have also noticed an increase of the offer: today consumers can choose from an always greater variety of sustainable products.”

In these days you are at Ecomondo with Circular Italy. What’s the goal of this initiative?

“Circular Italy is a project promoted by Ecomondo to showcase the materials that are the real protagonists of the circular economy. Our exhibit displays a range of products, and for the next year we are planning to create a specific section to explain companies how to innovate using these materials.”

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