Beyond simply accumulating too much waste, we also recycle and repurpose so little of it. 3D printers, however, can reverse this pattern. Among the most used tools in the "circular" economy, these printers help reduce production costs, release fewer greenhouse gases, and reduce the use of raw materials by allowing objects to be repaired.
How much material do we use to send a package? Too much. Does recycling help? Yes – but not really. Packaging material often accumulates as waste, contributing to its own "polluting weight." To solve our packaging dilemma, Finland came up with RePack: a "circular" solution for the reuse of material.
Paper was originally made from rags until the introduction of cellulose in 1800. Since then, it has transformed into a "circular" industry, with 55% of paper produced in Italy recovered. It no longer just comes from trees, either. Some companies produce paper with scraps from the processing of other products like wool and walnuts.
Billions of liters of water for filtering, microplastics in packaging, leftover ingredients. It's challenging to make beer with zero waste. But around the world, brewers are finding ways to use everything from rainwater and food scraps to biodegradable packaging (and an ancient Babylonian recipe) to create a new alternative beer that is fresh and traditional but still "circular."
A German company recovers the coffee waste from bars, restaurants and hotels and uses them to create cups for everything from espresso to American coffee. Thanks to recycling, it's a unique and sustainable "circular coffee" experience.
In Italy, stacks of plastic boxes in supermarkets and stores are not garbage - they are collected and reused, thanks to a consortium that specializes in recycling them for food storage. How do these "circular" plastic boxes help reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions?
In 2018, the production of citrus fruit in Italy reached 2,631,403 tons. And all of the peels? The ones from oranges have become "circular," thanks to a circular juice bar which transforms orange peels into bioplastic cups. It's called "Feel the peel" and was created by Carlo Ratti for Eni.
Our young researchers have come up with another fun idea with the theme of sustainable mobility. Nicknamed "Locomobi," it's an innovative train with units for separate waste collection completely powered by organic waste, inspired by an Eni innovation called "waste to fuel," which turns urban organic waste into biofuel.
Watch the final episode of Funny Applications, Eni's video series that imagines new uses for technology.