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Abstract Elena Cristina RADA

In the last millenium, after the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), Circular Economy (CE) became one of the most relevant visions to follow and implement in order to fight the environmental pollution and the loose of primary resources. Even if the concept of CE is not new, being used since 1947 connected with the industrial symbiosis, only since 2015 specific norms on CE were developed at European level [1].

In order to achieve the implementaion of the CE concepts in the countries of the European Union (EU) the environmental education and communication to all the citizens at all the ages must be put in the first place. EU helps for implementing this vision not only thanks to new regulations and norms on CE but also through the possibility to obain financing for the developemt of international projects with partners from EU countries. One of these projects is EDU4PlastiCircular, that aims to raise awareness and promote green practices regarding the use of plastics in a circular and climate-neutral economy, through innovative training methods in four EU countries [2].

Plastics represent one of the most perceived problems at all levels: citizens, reserchers, managers and politicians. All of them can discuss in order to propose solutions to decrease the plastic pollution on the world only if all of them have an environmental background. Thanks to projects like EDU4PlastiCircular, this is possible to be achived in many EU countries.

Italy, being one of the founders of the European Community, in 2014 issued an Enviornmental Guide that takes into account the CE and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the primary education system. Thanks to this guide, the CE concepts were introduced in disciplines like hystory, geography, science, technology, art and imaging all connected with different aspects of environmental management. This integration was made in respect of the environment hand in hand with the technological progress for closing the loop.

Italy is going ahead in the implementation of CE and environmental education at all levels. Thanks to this approach it was possible to go and develop innovative research on plastic waste. One of these relates to the project “ProPla – Protein from plastics” that aims to recover the microPET pollutant from wastewater plants and from drying and washing machines to convert it into a natural amino acid (L-alanine) or in high-value compounds (proteins, lipids, chitin) via insects appropriately "modified" [3].

Summing up, plastic waste gives an opportunity to involve different spheres of the society in a common effort for protecting our planet.

References:

  1. Rada E.C., 2023. Circular Economy: Origins, Evolution and Role of MSW, Environmental and Climate Technologies, 27(1), pp. 989-998
  2. https://microplastics.today
  3. https://www.theproteinfactory2.it/propla-news

Acknowledgments: this work supported by: ProPla – 2022-0631 funded by Fondazione Cariplo at will on the Circular economy call: promoting research for a sustainable future and EDU4PlastiCircular –2023-1-RO01-KA220-HED-000166242, funded within ERASMUS+ Program.

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