Municipal and agro-industrial biowaste under discussion at Naples’ First Living Lab

Residui organici urbani e agroindustriali oggetto di discussione nel primo Living Lab di Napoli

The first Local Living Lab of Biocircularcities in the Città Metropolitana di Napoli (CMNA) was held on 25 March 2022. The meeting took place online due to the current pandemic situation. In addition to the project staff, seventeen participants from different backgrounds attended the meeting.

After participants introduced themselves in a first dynamic using the Mural online platform, the project leader Rosaria Chifari, from Fundació ENT, provided an overview of the main objectives of the Biocircularcities project. Then, Enrica Leccisi from CMNA described the waste management model in the CMNA, also showing some local circular bioeconomy good practices and giving an overview about the local, national and European waste regulatory framework.

A second dynamic on Mural and a roundtable enabled stakeholders to discuss the criticalities in the local management of municipal and agro-industrial biowaste as well as the strategies or good practices for collection, treatment and valorisation of this waste stream.

The conclusions of those interactive activities were drawn by Amalia Zucaro from ENEA. The following concerns emerged from the first Local Living Lab in CMNA: lack of trust of local population, lack of local biowaste treatment plants, (i.e. composting and anaerobic digestion) and scarce cooperation among the local authorities in charge of waste management and supply chain actors.

Moreover, the invited stakeholders shared potential strategies able to tackle the spotted needs for the biowaste management system in the CMNA:

  • gaining trust of locals through adequate information and waste management solutions with visible environmental and economic benefits;
  • revamping the existing treatment plants to make them less impactful on the environment;
  • improving separate collection to reduce the amount of biowaste sent to incinerators or landfill;
  • increasing the number of composting, anaerobic digestion or other added value alternatives preferring many small plants, rather than a few large ones, in order to reduce the environmental impact and allow each territory to treat its own waste internally;
  • retrieving the results from past research and projects, as starting point to expand the range of available circular solutions;
  • considering natural capital as an integral element of any industrial development or local waste management strategy;
  • creating opportunities of industrial symbiosis to improve the local cooperation together with the implementation of new conversion process to produce added value products and
  • applying circular economy actions such as prevention measures to reduce the volume of generated biowaste;

Although many actions are needed to close the loop of the waste cycle, several private companies are already implementing good circular economy practices at local level (e.g. bioplastics, cosmetics, drugs, biogas and biomethane from biowaste, or shopping bags from fabric scraps, etc.). To encourage effective dissemination of good practices, appropriate information campaigns should be organized. The increase in the number of innovative practices in the field of the circular economy would support the bio-economy sector which, already now, is worth a few billion euros in the Campania Region. Through its activities, the Biocircularcities project intends favouring the implementation of circular and innovative good practices by supporting the development of policy recommendations fostering the circular bioeconomy.

Presentations and other outputs are available on the event page.