Are we inhabiting a real living and circular planet?
During these last years the European Commission is trying to incentivize the Member States to adopt a new economic model – known as ‘circular economy’ – opposed to the ‘linear model’, this last is also defined as ‘take-make-dispose’ and mostly used by the Member States until now.
What are the main differences distinguishing the circular economy from the linear economy? In first place, it has to be admitted that the circular economy takes as its starting point the concept of sustainable development. Secondly, this new economic model is based on the reduction of the waste of material and natural resources, as well as it implies the re-use of final products thanks to an innovative eco-design. On the contrary, the linear model is based mainly on the excessive waste of raw materials, and especially it tends to widely exploit the natural resources while increasing the level of pollution. Moreover, the linear model is not devoted to supporting both the creation and diffusion of the recycled goods among the end users.
Considering the European Union’s framework, among the Member States, Denmark is increasingly launching the circular economy model across its national territory. This fact can be reiterated, given the importance of all those initiatives focused on the blue and green growth under the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020. In this regard, it is interesting to take into account – among the different connected projects supporting the circular economy within the South Baltic Sea Region – the “WASTEMAN” project (the original title of which is “Integrated sustainable Waste Management decreasing pollution in the South Baltic Area) having as its Lead Partner (LP) the Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinary Polish Academy of Sciences (Instytut Maszyn Przepłwowych im. Roberta Szewalskiego Polskiej Academii Nauk), which in turn is located in Gdansk.
In line with the “WASTEMAN” project, different municipalities situated across the South Baltic Area have the opportunity of changing their waste management system: from linear to circular, by recycling the waste resources deriving from households (and/or enterprises). The partners running this project, meanwhile, are committing themselves to finding solutions through which it will be possible to decrease the pollution discharges from the respective systems of collection, treatment and utilization of municipal waste resources.
The implementation of the project at issue, de facto, will contribute to building up a new environment characterized by the efficient use of natural resources as long as possible, through the allocation of small-scale green technology investments in order to refine the waste management process while guaranteeing an improvement in terms of the quality of life for the benefit of the local citizens and, at a large extent, the ecosystem as a whole.
Nowadays, our planet is suffering the effects caused by the climate change, among others, the different forms of pollution. The future consequences will be certainly catastrophic if we continue to underline the current situation: there is still time to look for and pursue sustainable solutions before it may be too late. In other words, our planet may run the risk of changing its nature: it might turn into an enormous black and grey desert, the only existing life-form generated by our uncontrolled, immeasurable and excessive … waste-love.
All that, therefore, science fiction or reality?