Circular economy

Circular economy, 200 thousand new jobs in Italy

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Estimates presented in Rome during the Waste Forum. Agriculture among the most promising sectors.

At least 199 thousand jobs have allegedly been created by the circular economy, even considering the employment possibilities that were lost with the transition from the previous economic model. This assessment was presented at the Waste Forum (“Forum Rifiuti”), the three-day event organized in Rome by Legambiente, Editoriale La Nuova Ecologia and Kyoto Club. But which are the most promising sectors in this paradigm shift?

Bioeconomy, food industry, chemical and pharmaceutical manufactures, packaged consumer goods, biotechnological industry and agriculture. The latter, which is one of Italy’s most flourishing sectors, produces 9 million tons of waste and 20 million tons agricultural waste per year: these could be recycled for composting, anaerobic digestion, and biorefinement. Further advantages for the employment market and the economy could come from the currently growing sector of bioplastics.

The benefits don’t concern only the employment market. A more efficient use of resources is one of the main factors of competitiveness for an enterprise, considering that 40% of the costs sustained on average by the European manufacturing sector is due to raw materials. With the addition of water and energy costs, this figure becomes as high as 50% of the manufacturing cost, while only 20% of the manufacturing cost is due to the cost of work.

This is why the organizers of the event estimate that it is fundamental to increase resource efficiency by at least 30% by 2030. The efficiency is measured based on the relation between the GDP and the raw material consumption. Waste prevention, regeneration, repairing and recycling have the potential to generate € 600 billion of net savings for European enterprises, i.e. 8% of the annual turnover. They also allow to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 2-4% (Impact assessment by the Commission in July 2014).

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