Topic 2 A new approach

A modern and sustainable economic system must optimize the use of waste materials as inputs for other production processes. Industrial activities must be reorganized following the same model of biological systems. Thus the double concept of circular economy and industrial ecology was introduced; its purpose is to change the development of industrial systems turning them from linear to cyclical, with a full consequent reuse of secondary products, such as energy or raw materials, for other processes. That is the reason why we speak of “secondary raw materials”.

In circular and eco-industrial systems, the emphasis is on efficiency, recovery and exchange, in order to minimize any environmental impact. An excellent eco-industrial system is one in which functional relationships are created between all production plants: the so-called Eco Industrial Parks. It is a set of industries, cooperating together in a sustainable way, in the same way as different animal and plants interact in a natural environment.

Our ultimate goal is organizing a good economic development while reducing, at the same time, any environmental contamination. An objective for which a correct management of the waste cycle is really essential.

Therefore, the phase of uncontrolled growth of waste, that began in the 1960s, now seems to have ended. It is possible to reduce waste and managing it in the best possible way, saving the environment and without affecting our well-being. Waste prevention is the real great goal to be pursued, because it is the basis of an entire sustainable waste management process. To clearly understand how much waste prevention can have a positive effect on environmental sustainability, just consider, and always remember, this simple figure: for each kg of waste that we do NOT produce, we save about 100 kg of natural resources!

On a daily life scale, our personal behaviors are an important part of the process. How can each of us live a more sustainable lifestyle? Here is a list of “sustainable behaviors”. Let’s…

Save energy

Save water

Use eco-friendly cleaning products

Go paperless

Drive less

Use reusable alternatives

Recycle and reuse

Avoid wasting food

Donate unused items

Use renewable energy

Buy fair trade

Use sustainable clothing