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Italian project Spazio Erre combining economy and ecology

Hot to turn industrial waste into creative resources

Italian project Spazio Erre combining economy and ecology

Claudia Astarita

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From 2009, in the reality of the province of Modena, in Emilia-Romagna, a project called "Spazio Erre" is active to transform industrial wastes in resources. This project is sponsored by the cultural association IncontrArti and combines entrepreneurialism, welfare, education and environmental sustainability.

Briefly, the process works as following: first, the recyclable waste of local firms is collected on a regular basis; then, the materials are analysed and catalogued. Finally, they are put at disposal of schools, parents' committees, associations and NGOs. These entities are left with the creative bit. They are to think of ways to reutilize the otherwise wasted materials and turn them into art.

This constitutes a great advantage for companies, who see a massive reduction of logistic and smaltimento costs. One concrete example is the cooperation between a professional institute and local companies. The project is called RRR (Reuse Recycle Remind) and sees students from Venturi Institute apply their technical skills in fashion, design and communication through the use of recycled materials from firms. They create bags, clothing, accessorizes and panels by putting together waste from textile and others industries.

Thanks to the numerous projects sponsored by local foundations, such as "Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena" and coordinated by Spazio Erre, new actions of social responsibilities have emerged. The possibility is created to participate in competitions that require a synergy between associations and firms. Moreover, the use of recycled materials instead of virgin ones is investigated and brought at its highest potential.

This active reality proves not only that it is possible, but also strategic for companies to engage in research and development of organizational and product innovation. This, in turn, fosters ethical principals of an ecologic and social value. The European law and regulation is very clear in encouraging these realities to keep growing and increase their scope.

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