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Circular Economy in Italy

  • Francesco Di MariaEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Italy is located in the south-west part of Europe with a population of about 60.6 million of inhabitants and a gross domestic product of about 1,934,798 M US$ in 2017. Italy operates in the wider legal framework of the European Union (EU) legislation that is internationally recognized as one of the most advanced approaches in the sectors of environmental protection, sustainable development and waste management. The broad concept of sustainability entails, among the others, also the preservation of the environment quality and of the resources of the earth for the future generations. In this context takes places the concept of circular economy (CE) based on the circular use of resources. An important sector in which circular use of resource was successfully implemented since 1991 was the waste management. The directive 91/156/EEC (CD 1991) formally introduced in the legal framework of waste management the concept of the waste management hierarchy establishing the priority goals to be pursued with a hierarchic order in waste management (Fig. 1): Prevention, Reuse, Recycling, Recovery and Disposal. From the hierarchy was also extrapolated the 3R concept based on Reuse, Recycle and Recover. The same directive introduced also the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) that is another fundamental pillar for enhancing the recycling of waste. These basic concepts during the years were updated and improved but never replaced or repealed by the successive directives. Legal and economic support resulted key factors for a successful implementation of CE even if it is necessary to size these activities in each specific market. Large differences were detected in the sector of the municipal solid waste compared to the ones generated by industrial and commercial sectors. Long-term efforts which aimed to the implementation of the legal framework in the sector lead in about 8 years to a reduction of the amount of waste disposed of about 33%. Furthermore, latest data available shows that this positive trend is still increasing. Socio-economic indicators showed that there is a general decrease of waste generated and that the paradigm between the increase of GDP and families’ expenditures and waste generation is starting to be capsized. Different results were detected for the waste generated in industrial and commerce sectors. Even if the high level of recycling that in the 2014 was of about 85%, their effective prevention seems not to be successfully pursued yet.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LAR5 Laboratory, Dipartimento di IngegneriaUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly

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