Eco-design in Oriented PVC Pipes and Fittings. The resource crisis, the problem of climate change and the need for economic growth have given rise to a new strategy, the Circular Economy. This economic model seeks to reduce the consumption of new materials and the production of waste, thereby closing the loop associated with the economic and ecological flow of resources
The circular economy is an economy in which the use of available material and energy resources is optimised so that these resources stay within the productive cycle for as long as possible. The circular economy seeks to reduce waste as much as possible and to avail to the utmost of unpreventable waste. Moreover, the circular economy not only provides the envi-ronmental benefits associated with correct waste management, soil protection, water protection, air protection and climate protection, but it also provides economic and social benefits.
- Evaluation of the situation in the pipe sector
The new concept of the circular economy is based on converting waste into resources so that they can be reinserted into the economic cycle, thus minimising the quantity of waste generated. This is directly related to the minimisation of raw material use and energy consumption, with a consequent reduction in emissions. In this way, the Circular Economy can mitigate the effects of climate change and the anthropogenic impact on the environment, always bearing in mind the impact of products throughout their entire lifecycles.
The Circular Economy does not simply advocate increased waste recovery. A key element of the new model is the need to make changes in stages prior to the generation of waste, including the conception, design, production, distribution and consumption of products.
The measures proposed by the European Commission in the new Circular Economy Package on plastic waste include zero land-filling and high material recycling rates. To achieve this, it will be necessary to adopt measures to foster recycling. An important concept to be borne in mind by the manufacturers of plastic products is that of Extended Producer Responsibility. In this re-spect, it will be necessary to define the measures to be applied to producers of products which result in waste, in order to ensure their commitment to closing the loop. Such measures will be related to the eco-design of products for the purpose of im-proving durability and energy efficiency, as well as reducing environmental impact.
Published in: FuturENVIRO Nº 69 April-May 2020