18 March 2021

Recycling: the "Seventh Resource" that gives hope to the future

On March 18, the World Recycling Day established by the Global Recycling Foundation is celebrated: to remember that recovery and reuse reduce the emissions of a new production and preserve the planet from the excessive exploitation of its natural resources.

In order to meet the primary needs of nearly 8 billion inhabitants of planet earth, it must be said, it is necessary to have an abundant pool of primary resources on which to draw.

This wealth found in nature, however substantial, cannot be inexhaustible and for some time there have been noticeably clear warning signs of an imminent - and irreversible – running out of stock (to use a language product of our time).

Water, air, coal, oil, natural gas and minerals are the six rapidly being depleted primary resources that cannot be expected to forever meet the needs of our (often medium-high) standard of living. This is why the BIR (Bureau of International Recycling) has decided to find a seventh one: not in nature but, for once, on the side of nature.

Recycled materials are one of the very precious tools which humanity has in its hands to fight climate change. Not only to avoid the waste of resources, but also to significantly limit CO2 emissions from production processes and to reverse the trend of unregulated, impromptu and exasperatingly disposable consumption.

The global challenge of recycling: Italy at the top of the European ranking

In order to grasp the potential of this virtuous practice, let's start with some emblematic data.

We stay in Italy and take into consideration its excellent performance on a global scale in terms of recycling rates.

Just to be clear, the recycling of packaging in our country is second only to that in Germany, while that of waste per capita is higher in Italy than in any other European nation. According to Eurostat in fact, we recover 79% of the industrial and urban waste produced, which corresponds to double the European average (39%).

The GreenItaly 2020 report then provides us with a very encouraging cue: in Italy a virtuous cycle has been activated which involves a potential saving of the equivalent of 23 million tons of oil and of 63 million tons of CO2. Summing up: 14.8% of emissions harmful to the climate.

And finally, ISPRA (Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research), provides us with a more focused zoom on urban centres, revealing that every Italian citizen, in a year, produces on average 500 kg of waste. A considerable amount, which however is accompanied by the positive result of a 3.1% increase in separate waste collection in urban centres from North to South.

In short, recycling has become trendy. And waste is and becomes, more and more, an opportunity.

Glass and aluminium: when waste is transformed into secondary raw material

Recovering and reusing has a first visible result, which consists in avoiding the accumulation of scraps and waste in landfills which are already well beyond their saturation threshold.

But the much-cited ecological transition - which should guide us towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals through renewables, agroecology, the circular economy, zero-emission mobility and respect for biodiversity - needs to rely on a real change of pace.

Have you ever wondered how many times a material can be recycled?

Plastic (PET/PE), for example, only 1-2 times as, from that moment onwards, it would lose its intrinsic properties. Glass and aluminium, on the other hand, have no limits. So much so that it can be argued that a glassware factory represents a perfect model of circular economy, and that glass recycling coincides with a closed and self-sufficient cycle.

The environmental benefits are undeniable and range from saving energy to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and mining activities, up to saving raw materials.

According to Coreve, all Secondary Raw Materials (SRM) that the packaging glass factories recycled in 2019 (both deriving from the national separate collection of packaging and from other sources) allowed a reduction in the use of traditional raw materials (sand, sodium carbonate, carbonates, etc.) of over 3.6 million tons, a quantity whose volume would occupy more than one and a half times that of the Colosseum.

Disposing in the right way to produce and consume… the right amount

One thing leads to another.

And if the correct waste disposal generates the possibility of continuing to produce and use with the least possible impact, we will have achieved the most ambitious of results. Which will lead us to consume less and better while continuing to do so without any deprivation, but only with a greater responsibility and paying great attention to the future of the planet.

From an ideal point of view, the use of incineration and undifferentiated waste landfills should be reduced to a minimum unavoidable portion. The circular economy aims to become zero waste, to compensate for emissions, to restart from its own waste to regenerate itself autonomously.

The future is in waste, in a nutshell.

We decide whether to make waste a problem or a resource. And it is from what remains of it that we will collect - for better or for worse - what will be.

 

The end of life (and the new beginning) of Oway agricosmetics

Of course: this day is a warning, a spotlight on the priorities of our millennium.

And we celebrate it with gestures every day, by making thoughtful choices and ones which aim for a carbon neutral, plastic free and zero waste production.

Recycling is, and must increasingly become, the centre of our lifestyle.

Oway agricosmetics are designed circularly at various levels: from the choice of raw materials and extraction processes to the content and container of their formulas.

Every choice, every little detail, helps to facilitate the reuse, recovery and requalification of waste. It is no coincidence that glass bottles and aluminium tubes are 100% recyclable packaging and for an infinite number of times. The choice wrapping and the best "skin" to preserve rich and concentrated formulas: precious and protective materials that respect the environment.

Their packaging is limited to this indispensable wrapping, without requiring polluting and superfluous boxes or over-packaging. Only where necessary, products are placed in reusable birch boxes or, again, in paper recovered from agricultural waste such as Tree Free, which for this reason does not derive from tree felling.

The labels affixed to the bottles, guardians of the richness of formulas and the agricosmetic values, are in FSC paper: an eco-sustainable choice which does not compromise the recyclability of the containers and one that allows them to be disposed of in the bottle banks, without having to first remove the label.

And then there are the metal caps, which seal and preserve the precious ingredients of the formulas allowing the interchangeability and reuse of the dispensers: an important accessory which can be recovered from the finished bottle, for an equally safe and concentrated dispensing.

To truly adopt a responsible lifestyle, you need to ask yourself questions and set priorities. But implementing this through real and concrete actions will become much easier if the manufacturing companies facilitate the transition. Ecological, yes, but also cultural.

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