Circular economy: faster actions needed


Affecting the crisis is the delay of the circular economy based on the recovery of materials and their reuse in new production processes. The raw materials crisis weighs heavily on the hi-tech sector. In recent years, Europe has imported copper, lithium and cobalt at high prices, giving an input to mining activities, forgetting the supply of waste . The circularity rate fell by 0.5% between 2018 and 2020. Today we recover only 8.6% of the resources we steal from the Earth annually.


Italy is keeping the particularly positive situation on the circular economy . It performed well compared to its European competitors. The per capita consumption of materials is 7.4 tons of materials per year. In Italy in 2020 the circular use rate reached 21.6% overtaking France and Germany. Also in 2020, the Italian economy was the only one to have recorded an increase in resource productivity . These are remarkable results, but not sufficient to deal with the current crisis in the system. Italy is a system almost devoid of raw materials for advanced industry.

It would be necessary to pay more attention to the design of sustainable products , to circularity in production processes. Moreover, even in the most resource-intensive sectors with a high environmental impact. The Pnrr funds will help finance the circular economy for 2.1 billion euros, with investments destined to grow. Pending the publication of the tenders, there are at least three objectives that Cen is asking the government as a financial priority.


We think it is important first of all to strengthen the Transition 4.0 tax credit, in support of business investments in the direction of the circular economy. It is also necessary to extend and strengthen tax incentives for the use of recycled materials. Finally, we must intervene with a review of the environmental taxation system on waste, encouraging separate collection and recycling and discouraging landfill disposal, to make virtuous citizens and municipalities pay less.

Edo Ronchi, president of Cen, Circular Economy Network

  • Circular economy: good performance is not enough, we need to speed up (


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