The LIFE+ project LOWaste in Ferrara is experiencing a pattern of circular economy based on prevention, reuse and recycling of waste in a logic of public-private partnerships. Starting from some pilot tests it is creating the foundation for the emergence of a genuine local district of green circular economy.

The district consists of waste operators, small recovery platforms, artisans and SMEs engaged in the development of materials and manufacturing of reproducts. With the Pilot, it has been enabled the community “LOWaste for action,” a group of more than 200 designers, makers, social cooperatives, NGOs and for profit organizations that has actively taken part in the trial and that in the future may give rise to a real district .

The LOWaste project:

-        has created the foundation for the creation of a local market

-        has already created the conditions necessary to intercept and exploit the materials that can be reused, recycled and put back on the market

-        has developed policies GPP (Green Public Procurement ) and encouraged green procurement also by citizens, cooperatives and businesses.

LOWaste has created a network of individuals, businesses, recovery and know -how able to grow and give birth to a real model of district of green circular economy based on waste.
Experimentation in Ferrara allowed to verify the applicability of the theoretical model that was designed to LOWaste.

The pilot activated and the community that is created representing the conditions for the experimental phase supported by the LIFE program can develop and expand to other sectors by aggregating an increasing number of actors.
The main LOWaste results are:

  • Short chains of circular recycling and reuse are possible, even in the absence of public funding or subsidies;
  • A public-private partnership approach between all actors (institutional and otherwise) has allowed the creation of synergies and cooperation between actors with often conflicting or divergent views (eg, waste managers, agencies authorizatory, social cooperation, etc.);
  • Possibility of intercept additional fractions of waste (although often with limited volumes ) that are not managed by the traditional industrial sectors;
  • Active participation of stakeholders, particularly low-profit , interested in different ways to play a role in the supply chain (designers, makers, cooperatives , associations, SMEs)

During the project, some sectors have been analyzed in order to develop them in the territory of Ferrara:
- Aggregates from demolition
- Medical textile
- Street furniture and play equipment.

Waste producers and users have been identified for each of the sectors investigated, the necessary permits were requested and different second life products have been already defined.

The Municipality of Ferrara has launched a number of experiments that contemplate the construction of road foundations with recycled aggregates, through the inclusion of environmental criteria in the tenders of the public calls. If the results of the experimentation will be positive, the city will enter into a permanent obligation to use recycled material. A group of designers involved in the Lowaste 4 action community is also assuming the production of removable, reusable and completely recyclable panels to be realized with secondary raw materials coming from aggregates that will be used in buildings.

About textile, there are already in place contacts with a leading company in the valorization of recycled textiles. Some craftsmen and designers involved in the Lowaste 4 action community have also developed several prototypes of second life products: furniture (chairs, pillows etc..), technical clothing for mountain hiking, beach fashion and footwear.

For more informations see the Layman’s Report.