The transition from a linear economy model to a circular economy model is the key to making possible economic growth that respects material and natural resources and to offering a contribution to protecting against climate change, which the planet has committed to halt by 2050. In order to practise and encourage circular consumption, promoting the transition from a culture of waste to a culture of recycling and reuse, the Circular Consumption Charter has been created: a contribution of ideas to the great choices that the ecological transition imposes on us, to affirm a fairer society and economy.
The contest promoting the Circular Consumption Charter and the values of recycling, reuse and co-design is called MakeITcircular and is promoted by Innova Camera (Special Agency of the Rome Chamber of Commerce) and Consumer Associations of the National Council of Consumers and Users. All the projects submitted through the Call for Makers of Maker Faire Rome 2021 in the circular economy category and companies, organisations, associations and foundations that have proposed projects aimed at raising awareness of the environmental impact of products and the industrial processes that generate them, and at promoting knowledge of the concepts of “circularity” and “environmental footprint” of products and services, have participated. To overcome the “disposable” approach in consumption and production, promoting values of durability, sharing, repair, reuse and re-use of products and material resources. Finally, to involve consumers in defining the “circularity” characteristics of products, helping them to become aware that their behaviour in the use and post-use phase can influence that characteristic.
The winner of this year’s contest was TooGoodToGo, a project that won the €3,000 prize. Special mentions went to Vytreum (waste recovery project), AdapTronics (intelligent tape) and Saccomatto (natural products that replace plastics).
Too Good To Go is an app for smartphone that helps combat food waste by giving new value to products that retailers have failed to sell during the working day. The app gives retailers the chance to offer Magic Boxes at the end of the day, surprise bags containing a selection of unsold fresh food that they have not been able to sell. The application offers shopkeepers the opportunity to offer Magic Boxes at the end of the day, surprise bags containing a selection of unsold fresh food that cannot be put on sale again the next day, but is “too good to throw away”. Users, in the same way, have the opportunity to buy food that is still excellent at a third of its original price, as well as to get to know new places.
The idea was born in 2015 in Denmark by a group of Danish students convinced of the need to find a solution to food waste through a simple, flexible and effective model. Since then, the app has spread to 14 European countries, the US and Canada.
In Italy, Too Good To Go has been active since March 2019 and has so far been officially launched in more than 60 cities with over 12,000 participating shops, more than four million registered users and over 3.5 million boxes saved, which equates to more than 8,250 tonnes of CO2e not emitted into the environment
Today in Italy. So far, the main cities in Italy have been involved, but the goal for 2021 is to reach the entire area of the province and neighbouring municipalities in order to create a vast and efficient anti-waste network that can combat food waste across the board.
VYTREUM, THE GREEN TILE FROM RECO2
RECO2 is an innovative Cleantech startup active in the green building sector. It is the only startup to have patented a revolutionary production process for the creation of a new range of functional materials for green building. Through a virtuous model of circular economy and a revolutionary patented production process, RECO2 is able to recover and transform various types of inorganic and inert secondary raw materials (including glass, ceramic production waste, steel mill waste) into a wide range of functional products for sustainable building with a green footprint. Their first product is called Vytreum, a ceramic-concrete material made entirely from secondary inorganic raw materials, used for: eco-sustainable indoor and outdoor flooring, urban renewal and furnishing, and design applications. The project received a special mention in the contest.
The mission of the AdapTronics project, a special mention in the contest, is to improve the quality of life through cutting-edge, sustainable technology, with the aim of solving inefficiencies in our society. «Our vision – explains the team – is to eliminate the waste and problems caused by improper handling and management of packages, such as product damage, returns, and the concept of rejection and disposal of packaging at the end of the transport cycle, by establishing a new protocol of digital communication and physical interaction between the machine and the transported packages. We want to start with the logistics and parcel delivery sector, a vast market which, partly due to the pandemic, is seeing an unprecedented increase in the flow of transported products».
Technology. Thanks to a proprietary technology based on the realisation of mechatronic adaptive electromechanical devices, the company has developed capacitive sensors integrated in the same tape used to close the boxes or directly printed on the wrapping itself, using eco-sustainable and biodegradable conductive carbon-based inks. By processing the information provided by these sensors, and acquiring it by modifying the usual tool for reading a barcode on a label, it will be possible not only to track the package as usual, but also to monitor the condition of the box and the goods inside it throughout the logistics chain, measuring its structural state, humidity, the proximity of the box to other objects.
Ten years of research. «Our technology is the result of more than ten years of research by our team at the SAIMA lab at the University of Bologna of the SAIMA (Sensori e Attuatori Intelligenti per il Manifatturiero Avanzato) laboratory at the University of Bologna. We have created a first prototype of condition monitoring scotch, experimentally validated in the laboratory, with a technological maturity level TRL 4-5, and created with recyclable materials directly with the packaging».
Saccomatto, another project that received a special mention in the contest, is playing checkmate against plastic. It is a bag in three sizes, for carrying food, sewn and impregnated with a mixture of 100% local and natural substances, the main substance being organic beeswax, which keeps food fresh and above all well preserved. Water-repellent, Saccomatto is a real revolution. Bread remains soft, biscuits crisp. At picnics there is no rubbish, vegetables in the fridge remain impeccable. It adapts to food and with the warmth of your hands it adapts to everything. It can be washed with cold water.
Author. Melanie Iorio, Belgian, born in 1983, studied design with a specialisation in innovation in Delft (Netherlands). I studied design,” she says, “to learn from Munari how difficult it is to simplify, and how sophisticated simple forms are. Passionate about human behaviour, in love with any form of craftsmanship, I am attracted by technology. I want to travel soon, because the real journey is in the encounter with the other person project.
The Evaluation Committee
I progetti sono stati valutati da una giuria composta da Michela Cappannelli (Climate Change Strategy and Positioning Head of Adaptation & New Issues, ENI), Mara Colla (Presidente Confconsumatori), Massimiliano Colella (Direttore Generale Innova Camera), Fabio Iraldo (Docente di Sustainability Management – Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna) e Davide Zanon (Segreteria Nazionale Codici).
Cover photo: makerfairerome.eu
Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition has been committed since nine editions to make innovation accessible and usable to all, with the aim of not leaving anyone behind. Its blog is always updated and full of opportunities and inspiration for makers, makers, startups, SMEs and all the curious ones who wish to enrich their knowledge and expand their business, in Italy and abroad