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Feasibility of Industrial Symbiosis in Italy as an Opportunity for Economic Development: Critical Success Factor Analysis, Impact and Constrains of the Specific Italian Regulations

Abstract

Many examples of symbiosis processes studied within the context of industrial research could be applied in Italian productive system, so as to make related environmental improvement an attractive process for industrial stakeholders. By now, Industrial Symbiosis is not systematically applied because of some difficulties mainly related to regulations and to a culture of collaboration (among companies, and between companies and industrial research world) that must still be further developed. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the existing opportunities in the Emilia-Romagna territory and to analyze in terms of methodology and results some useful experiences and realized and ongoing projects in this area for the development of the regional system, intended to apply Industrial Symbiosis and to spread a circular economy approach. Pilot projects, undertaken or in progress in Emilia-Romagna region, are described and analyzed in terms of methodology and results. They aim to study the potential for the application of circular economy by closing production cycles The regulatory framework at national and regional level is analyzed in order to identify critical points and obstacles to the diffusion of Industrial Symbiosis practices. The paper analysis method also includes the evaluation of the opportunities resulting from European funding programmes and from national strategies related to the new European Cohesion Policy. The results of this study, based at different levels of analysis (background experiences, regulatory framework and strategic opportunities) are territorial guidelines, useful for Emilia-Romagna institutions to approach Industrial Symbiosis methodology. This method has been also suggested within the waste plan of Emilia-Romagna Region as interesting and “useful to the reduction of industrial waste quantity”. As a conclusion, symbiosis has been proved to be a quite effective tool to create new economic growth opportunities: regional and national policies, together with technical experts and entrepreneurs, must work towards the completion of cycles within the production system, in order to foster circular economy. It is needed an effort by all actors of the process (especially institutions) in order to overcome regulatory and cultural issues.

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Acknowledgments

This work was carried out by CIRI Energia e Ambiente and Aster S. Cons. P.A., with the support of Emilia-Romagna High Technology Network within the POR FESR 2007-2013 funding. The study was also supported by the Climate-KIC—Pioneers into Practice programme. Thanks to Luca Marcheselli, Eva Merloni, Esmeralda Neri, Sara Picone and Luciano Vogli. Thanks also to Martina Lodi for her contribution. Thanks also to Roberta Laghi (Provincia di Rimini) and Giancarlo Arlotti (AUSER Rimini) for their valuable suggestions and helpfulness on the CSA project, and to Adrian Murphy and Rachel Lombardi (International Synergies Ltd.), highly knowledgeable teachers and extremely kind hosts, for their support during the surveys on the British legislative scene.

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Correspondence to Antonella Iacondini.

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Iacondini, A., Mencherini, U., Passarini, F. et al. Feasibility of Industrial Symbiosis in Italy as an Opportunity for Economic Development: Critical Success Factor Analysis, Impact and Constrains of the Specific Italian Regulations. Waste Biomass Valor 6, 865–874 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12649-015-9380-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12649-015-9380-5

Keywords

  • Industrial Symbiosis
  • Waste recovery
  • Recycle
  • Waste regulatory framework
  • End of life
  • Agriculture