The circular economy (CE), definable as a system focused on the reorganization of material, information, and energy flows to achieve greater resource efficiency through the reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling of materials, is a concept widely discussed by practitioners and scientists of many disciplines. Waste recycling is inte-gral to the CE, but there are still few articles focused on waste, and only few studies shed light on CE implementation at the company level. This paper focuses on a par-ticular type of waste, that is, absorbent hygiene products (AHPs), which represents a nonnegligible fraction of municipal solid waste, considered an increasingly serious global challenge. We conducted our analysis on FaterSMART, an Italian firm that developed a unique worldwide technology able to totally convert AHP raw material wastes into recyclable materials, under a CE approach. The case study findings are based upon semi-structured interviews, direct observations, and analysis of FaterSMART's archival documents and are analyzed according to a framework devel-oped for the research and focused on the place of waste from a linear economy, in which waste is considered a burden to CE, in which waste is considered a resource. The latter case is what we found that happens at FaterSMART. FaterSMART's find-ings could contribute to open up new management scenarios and stimulate further research into how this and similar types of technology will help societies to change from the “use-it-once-and-throw-it away” mentality of linear business models to the sustainable CE model that fully conceptualize waste as a resource for the system.

Reevaluating waste as a resource under a circular economy approach from a system perspective: Findings from a case study

Veltri Stefania;Pina Puntillo;
2021

Abstract

The circular economy (CE), definable as a system focused on the reorganization of material, information, and energy flows to achieve greater resource efficiency through the reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling of materials, is a concept widely discussed by practitioners and scientists of many disciplines. Waste recycling is inte-gral to the CE, but there are still few articles focused on waste, and only few studies shed light on CE implementation at the company level. This paper focuses on a par-ticular type of waste, that is, absorbent hygiene products (AHPs), which represents a nonnegligible fraction of municipal solid waste, considered an increasingly serious global challenge. We conducted our analysis on FaterSMART, an Italian firm that developed a unique worldwide technology able to totally convert AHP raw material wastes into recyclable materials, under a CE approach. The case study findings are based upon semi-structured interviews, direct observations, and analysis of FaterSMART's archival documents and are analyzed according to a framework devel-oped for the research and focused on the place of waste from a linear economy, in which waste is considered a burden to CE, in which waste is considered a resource. The latter case is what we found that happens at FaterSMART. FaterSMART's find-ings could contribute to open up new management scenarios and stimulate further research into how this and similar types of technology will help societies to change from the “use-it-once-and-throw-it away” mentality of linear business models to the sustainable CE model that fully conceptualize waste as a resource for the system.
absorbent hygiene products (AHPs), case study, circular economy (CE), system perspective, systematic literature review, waste management/recycling
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/309734
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