Italy is recycling more and at a lower cost. This is according to a study by Bocconi and the Wuppertal Institut presented in Brussels that not only sanctions the efficiency of CONAI's packaging management system but also highlights the ability of national companies to design green.
«The study establishes a new Italian primacy: the data confirm that our packaging management system is not only among the most effective and efficient at the European level, but also remains ever mindful of design», comments Simona Fontana, head of CONAI's Center for Circular Economy Studies.
«The two issues go hand in hand... because well-designed packaging has lower impacts not only on the environment, but also on the management of its end-of-life and therefore on the costs associated with this activity. Our Call for Ecodesign wants precisely to reward and encourage the green activities of the Italian business fabric: designing increasingly sustainable packaging helps to achieve the recycling targets imposed by the Union, to reduce resource consumption, and to contain the costs of managing the packs themselves at the end of their life. A virtuous circle that our country's own companies are helping to fuel. The success of this combination, that is, of eco-design and lower costs for recycling, is also one of the principles used by CONAI in the modulation of the CAC for plastic packaging, in force since 2018 and which will be further strengthened from January 1, 2023».
Research notes and comments
Carried out by GREEN (Center for Geography, Resources, Environment, Energy and Networks) at Bocconi University and the Wuppertal Institut, the study "Screening the efficiency of packaging waste in Europe" was presented to the European Parliament in Brussels and collected responses from 28 Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs), which are organizations funded by packaging producers and/or users that take responsibility for packaging waste management.
When compared with PROs in nations with more than 10 million inhabitants served, CONAI's system is the most efficient and is less expensive than PROs in Spain, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany.
"In addition - explains CONAI President Luca Ruini - the study data disprove the belief that better recycling results correspond to higher costs for the business fabric: in fact, compared to other European countries, we have made the largest reductions in environmental contributions. Another fact that is very significant for us is that, together with France, Estonia and the Czech Republic, Italy has the highest level of transparency in waste management».
Commenting on the study, European Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni spoke of «a concrete example of Italian excellence in packaging management that allows our country to stand out in the European comparison on circular economy issues; after all, the need to accelerate the transition to the circular economy has never been clearer or more urgent: the extraction and processing of material resources is responsible for half of greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of biodiversity loss. Moreover - Gentiloni concluded - from the crises related to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine comes a new impulse to reduce Europe's dependence on the use of natural resources, fossil fuels and foreign suppliers. As we need to focus even more strongly on energy transition and the development of the circular economy, it is also necessary to rethink the way we produce and consume, and to promote the reuse of resources and materials already at the design and production stage, as we are doing with packaging».