In Camerata Picena the circular economy is outlet

Published on Monday, 17 October 2016

The idea came about when Energo S.p.A. was faced with the need to adjust to European legislation calling for companies to take back old appliances.
First it was sustainable development and green economy. Now, the focus of environmental policy in Europe is on “circular economy”, a model that centres on the sustainability of the system as a whole, a system that does away with waste and constantly reuses everything. In stark contrast to the traditionally dominant “linear” system, the circular economy makes maximum use of available resources by returning them to the production cycle, rather than disposing of them in landfills.

Today, value can be added to a business through recovery and reuse, thereby creating and regenerating a more competitive economy that is also environmentally friendly. This is what has happened in Camerata Picena, an area known for the production of household appliances, recently hit hard by the economic crisis and the decline in consumption.

The idea came about when Energo S.p.A. was faced with the need to adjust to European legislation calling for companies to take back old appliances when replacing them with new ones. Now this huge amount of electrical and electronic equipment waste had become a new phase of the product lifecycle that the company is to manage. Where some see a problem, others see an opportunity, hence the creation of a new enterprise, supported by Second Life Italia and promoted by Legambiente, the first to obtain full authorisation in Italy for the reconditioning of electrical and electronic equipment waste.

Thus the first outlet in Italy was created for used, guaranteed household appliances. Right from its start in Camerata Picena in April 2015, the monthly reconditioning rate exceeded 500 appliances, and now that number has more than doubled. Even the employees of this new business are somehow “reused”, since they come from the companies that made this district for household appliances great over the decades. Once reconditioned, a household appliance can be resold at between 33%  to 40%  of its original price, whereas those that can’t be reconditioned are disassembled and the reconditioned parts are sold on an e-commerce portal. This model is not only environmentally friendly, but also technically and economically feasible, in that it creates new jobs, reduces waste by tons, and offers products at an affordable price.

This successful story in the household-appliances industry can be replicated in other industrial districts throughout Italy, to create a great many “recycling districts” that can support local industry, leading to a new ‘circular’ approach to economy. In part with the help of funds recently implemented by the European Commission, including over €650 million from Horizon 2020 and some €5.5 billion from structural funds.


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