Riccoboni Group expressed its voice in Economia 2021, the special annual issue from Soged focusing on the economic climate in the province of Alessandria and providing a rich overview of data, analysis and business stories. This year the issue tackled the topic of the after-crisis digital challenge and once again confirmed Predosa-based Grassano S.p.A. as one of the most important companies in the region.
Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, known under the acronym NRRP, will have a profound impact on the economic dynamics of the new year. Grassano S.p.A. president and Riccoboni Holding CEO Angelo Riccoboni takes a cue from the chapter of the document devoted to circular economy and the ecological transition to provide his reflection on the current conjuncture. Here it is in its entirety.
The National Recovery and Resilience Plan is a great opportunity to fast-track the green transition in Italy. Within it, the largest amount of resources, 59.47 billion euros, were allocated to Mission 2 on “Green Revolution and Ecological Transition”, in which the waste life cycle issue takes centre stage in the chapter on circular economy. What are these resources for? “In terms of waste management, the NRRP highlights the lack of plant and management facilities in our country and the need to create an integrated collection and treatment plant network, which is still missing to this day due to the overall weakness of the governance of waste management”, explained Angelo Riccoboni, President of Grassano S.p.A., the Predosa-based company that operates a special waste treatment platform. He continued: “This doesn’t mean that Italy is underperforming in material recovery processes. Quite the opposite: official 2019 data on special waste management have certified that in our country 80.8% is already subjected to some form of recovery. A recent study comparing the waste management by businesses based in Europe’s major manufacturing countries concluded that we are number 1 in Europe for recovery of materials (79.3%) and threatening the leading position of France for circularity rate, i.e., the share of materials recovered and fed back into the economy over the total of materials (20% and 19.5%, respectively). Even so, the European Union is asking us to quickly improve on our recycling targets in certain sectors, plus we are paying the price of our insufficient treatment and final disposal facilities to safely and effectively manage the end of life of the portion of waste that can’t be recovered".
What can we do? “At Grassano, we’re already working together with several statutory consortia, collecting and treating complex waste such as used mineral oils, traction batteries and animal and vegetable oils and fats, with excellent results in terms of launching the recovery process. In order for the circular economy to take root, we need to learn from these success stories and set up new recycling supply chains able to cost-effectively generate high-quality secondary raw materials. This would convince businesses to prefer them over virgin raw materials in their industrial manufacturing processes, where possible".
In other words, we need to change the way we perceive waste: from waste to resource? “Exactly. In Italy, we still have a long road ahead of us; in fact, our businesses generate, on average, a greater amount of waste per 1000 euros of GNP than Spain, France and Germany, which are apparently better at recycling their scraps than us. The solution is embracing change, investing in research, and looking at every type of waste as a potential resource that we can learn to better exploit. We already have a chemical lab in place at Grassano that is investigating ways to improve waste production processes, plus we are launching a more ambitious partnership programme with research institutes to create synergies between basic research and potential areas of application in industry".