Italians embrace the circular economy. What does Europe do?

Survey by Area studi Legacoop and Ipsos

According to the results of a survey by Area studi Legacoop and Ipsos, in the last 3 years almost one Italian in 2 (45% of respondents) has purchased a used product and one in 3 (36% of the sample) a reconditioned or regenerated product.

However, for 32% of people we live in a society not used to reuse, for 28% people prefer to always have the latest model released on the market.

Among the initiatives to encourage a more circular approach: price reduction (86%); economic incentives on used/reconditioned/regenerated products (84%); more information on their reliability (85%).

For 8 out of 10 Italians (more precisely for 81% of respondents) “in today’s society we are too accustomed to linking well-being to the amount of new goods acquired, instead of the greater care of the goods we use“.

On a global level, the circular economy, unfortunately, is lagging behind, but Italy confirms itself as a leading country, along with Spain, among the largest European economies. There are, however, alarm bells. Because we’re getting worse on some key indicators like the circular use rate of matter and resource productivity. This is what emerges from the National Report on the Circular Economy 2022 promoted by Assoambiente and realized by CEN (Circular Economy Network), in collaboration with Enea.



What does Europe do?

More than 2.2 billion tonnes of waste are produced every year in the European Union. The EU is updating waste management legislation to promote the transition to a circular economy, as an alternative to the current linear economic model.

In March 2020, the European Commission presented, under the European Green Deal in line with the proposal for the new industrial strategy, the Action Plan for a New Circular Economy, which includes proposals for more sustainable product design, on reducing waste and empowering citizens. Resource-intensive sectors, such as electronics and information and communication technologies, plastics, textiles and construction, are given special attention.

In February 2021, the European Parliament voted for the new circular economy action plan, calling for additional measures to achieve an environmentally sustainable zero-carbon economy, free from toxic substances and fully circulate by 2050. It also includes stricter recycling standards and binding 2030 targets on the use and ecological footprint of materials.

Through measures such as waste prevention, eco-design and reuse of materials, European companies would achieve savings and at the same time reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions. At the moment, the production of the materials we use every day is responsible for 45% of CO2 emissions.

The transition to a more circular economy can bring many benefits, including: Reducing pressure on the environment; More certainty about the availability of raw materials; Increasing competitiveness; Boosting innovation and economic growth (a 0.5% increase in GDP); Increase in employment – it is estimated that in the EU thanks to the circular economy there could be 700,000 new jobs by 2030.