Category

sdg 12

Italy’s ecological transition with Minister Cingolani

By ecology, sdg 1, sdg 10, sdg 11, sdg 12, sdg 13, sdg 14, sdg 15, sdg 16, sdg 17, sdg 2, sdg 3, sdg 4, sdg 5, sdg 6, sdg 7, sdg 8, sdg 9

Alongside Roberto Cingolani, Minister for the Ecological Transition, we imagined what the world will be like in 2040 when his youngest son will be 30 years old. Cingolani helps us understand why we need to act now to put all the knowledge we have to good use. Are you ready to do your part to facilitate a transition that, by the very nature of the term, must be gradual?

Cristina: How will we transition from the world we have to the one we want? We came to Genoa to ask the Minister for Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani, physicist, researcher and father of 3 children. Good morning Minister. In 2040 we’ll be 10 years away from the 2050 target of zero emissions and your youngest son will be 30 years old – what will the world look like?

Minister Cingolani: If we’ll have done a good job it could be much cleaner than it is now and above all, there should be much less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and we’ll probably start to limit and mitigate the effects of global warming. The problem is that we have to start tomorrow and install all the renewable energy we need, we have to reach 72% of renewable electricity by 2030, so 10 years before the date you mentioned and I have to say that it worries me. Paradoxically, the problem today is neither resources nor technology, nor companies that can install these large plants, especially in Italy where we have lots of know-how. Right now, the most limiting factor is the bureaucratic one. The chain of permits for the installation of photovoltaic, wind and renewable energy plants is so slow, we risk that during the 5-year duration of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), these permits will be issued too late. First of all, we need to simplify the regulatory and authorizational aspects because there is such urgency, we can no longer waste any
time.

Cristina: Let’s imagine that world in 2040 for a moment longer.

Minister Cingolani: Smart mobility, cities on a human scale, greener. Hopefully we will have recovered some biodiversity, and above all, a greater awareness of tomorrow’s adults, today’s children.

Cristina: A question about fossil fuel subsidies is inevitable. Where are we and what do you think is the right destination?

Minister Cingolani: It’s a very delicate subject, unfortunately, sustainability is a compromise between different demands, we must mitigate the damage we’ve done to the environment as soon as possible, but at the same time, we must allow people to live and work. Unfortunately this also depends on contingent situations, we are not coming out of a particularly prosperous and happy period. The subsidies must certainly be reduced as soon as possible, and if we can reduce them we can reinvest a part of these reductions in something that will help create new jobs, including the reconditioning of the transportation industry. It’s a balancing act because if we ideologize the problem we harm workers, if we neglect the problem we harm the environment, so we all need to think about how to reorganize our habits and our lifestyles knowing that nothing is free.

Cristina: Thank you Minister.

Minister Cingolani: Thank you and good luck to everyone.

Cristina: Our country’s green transition must fulfill all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. An eye on the present and an eye to the future!

On air June 12th, 2021

Bees – the sentinels of biodiversity

By ecology, sdg 1, sdg 10, sdg 11, sdg 12, sdg 13, sdg 14, sdg 15, sdg 16, sdg 17, sdg 2, sdg 3, sdg 4, sdg 5, sdg 6, sdg 7, sdg 8, sdg 9

Having taken sustainable development to heart for a few decades now and focusing on solutions to our biggest challenges, I tend to think that issues which have been brought to our attention have positively evolved. Sadly that’s not the case but I know we have all the information to evolve as a species and co-exist respectfully with the complex ecosystems that we’re a part of. Speaking with Andrea, the beekeeper I always buy honey from, he introduced me to Luca Bosco and Marco Bergero. Thanks to these dedicated, passionate and knowledgeable young men, I found out that bees and pollinators are more threatened than ever. That’s how this interview came about and I learned how much more there is to do. If you know any hazelnut or almond growers please share this story. Christina Grozinger, Director of the Center for Pollination Research at Penn State confirms that exposure to fungicides, neonicotinoids and insecticides is causing great harm to pollinators. Engaging in conversations with the people we buy produce from is critical to understanding the  impact of our choices.

Cristina: Today is World Biodiversity Day, and the UN wants to bring our attention to the complex dynamics that govern life on earth. Biodiversity is our greatest treasure and monitoring its health is complicated. We are in the Cuneo area to meet Luca, a beekeeper. Luca, why are bees the most precious sentinels of biodiversity?

Luca Bosco: Because everything that arrives in the hive collected by bees is the result of a synergy between different forms of life and, therefore, is a result of the environment’s biodiversity.

Cristina: What do your observations tell you?

Luca Bosco: That the bee’s situation, and pollinators in general, is very serious. We often see episodes of die-offs and poisonings in our hives. Unfortunately we find insecticides, fungicides and herbicides in the matrices of the hives. One herbicide in particular, the molecule glyphosate, is very serious because its discovery, especially in the hive’s honey matrix – maturing honey, is a precise clue. The molecule that is sprayed here can end up anywhere, we find it in the water, in the air, it inevitably ends up in the soil because it’s sprayed on the ground and we also find it in plant pollen and nectar. This is a clear indication that the ecosystem’s natural filters are somehow degrading.

Cristina: Luca, which crops are sprayed the most with these substances?

Luca Bosco: Here we find ourselves in an area of viticulture and coriliculture, so grapes and hazelnuts. In recent years, thanks to the work of the beekeepers association, viticulturists have learned to use pesticides wisely, without causing direct and serious harm to pollinators. On the other hand, as far as hazelnuts are concerned, the matter is still open to discussion because it’s a new crop and, at the moment, the agronomic practices in use leave much to be desired. They are a source of direct poisoning, somehow they’re also the cause of those systematic findings in the hive matrices, especially in this area. We want to appeal to those who grow hazelnuts to follow the path already taken by winemakers.

Cristina: Luca you are about to take some samples, what is their frequency and what are they for?

Luca Bosco: They’re monthly and are used to investigate the possible presence of chemical molecules. Experience tells us that we will most likely find them because in past years, their presence has unfortunately been very assiduous. We know that these molecules are harmful to bees, also because of their somewhat unique ability to purify environmental matrices by absorbing chemical molecules into their bodies, to their own detriment of course, but especially preserving the honey. Somehow, the honey always results pure.

Cristina: How phenomenal. Do you cross-reference this data with others?

Luca Bosco: We cross this data with other measurements that are carried out in the area, in particular with those carried out on the Tanaro River, which you can see just nearby, and the two surveys confirm the same thing, the ubiquitous presence of chemical molecules.

Cristina: Thank you Luca. This story touches all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. And what can we do? Talk with beekeepers as much as possible, understand the critical issues in our area and protect it in any way we can. It pays off for everyone. Occhio al futuro

On air May 22nd, 2021

EcoAllene – recycling poly laminates

By ecology, sdg 12, sdg 13, sdg 9, technology

EcoAllene is a new and innovative material obtained from the recycling of poly laminates, i.e. formed by a plastic and metal film. In Italy, about 7 billion beverage containers are placed on the market, meaning 150,000 tons of poly laminated waste that can be turned into a resource.

Cristina: This is a circular economy story that comes from a paper mill’s waste. Containers like these are coated with high-quality cellulose that’s recovered, but the interior, a poly blend of plastic and aluminum is discarded, but here it becomes a resource. Stefano, how does your process work?

Stefano Richaud: When we receive the so-called poly-al, the aluminium and plastic fraction from the recycling plants, we put it through a process that starts with a deep wash to eliminate the cellulose still attached to the waste and any other possible pollutants. Then we agglomerate this sort of confetti, turning it into a gravel and we extrude it into these plastic granules which can then be turned into a plastic product.

Cristina: Were you the first to pioneer this innovation? To recycle these poly laminated items?

Stefano Richaud: The process comes from the intuition of an Italian entrepreneur who patented this idea of not separating the plastic and aluminum parts, but keeping them together. Thus transforming waste into a new plastic granule, a so-called secondary raw material.

Cristina: What do you make with it?

Stefano Richaud: We obtain a plastic granule that, supplied to our customers, can be transformed into many everyday objects. Such as household accessories, a broom or a dustpan; construction tools such as hammer handles; stationery: markers, highlighters, pens; or even packaging for the cosmetic and cleaning industries.

Cristina: Not food though…

Stefano Richaud: European legislation does not allow food to come in contact with a recycled product, except for PET, which is monomaterial.

Cristina: So it’s a 100% recycled material but is it also recyclable?

Stefano Richaud: Absolutely. Once it reaches the end of its life, the product made from our granules can be recycled just like a normal plastic material, such as polyethylene.

Cristina: What is the volume of poly laminated waste in Italy? And how much of it can you recycle?

Stefano Richaud: In Italy, 7 billion beverage containers are produced every year, of which the plastic and aluminum portion is about 25%, so with the current level of recycling collection around 60%, there are 120,000 tons of this waste. At the Alessandria plant we handle about a third of what can be recycled in Italy. Clearly, this problem is multiplied in all countries where beverage cartons are widely used. And let’s consider all the other poly laminates formed by paper, plastic and aluminum. Our technology offers a valid solution.

Cristina:  Thank you. Technologies like this are examples of excellence in Europe and around the world. Let’s be proud of them. But now we must also innovate the supply chain. Occhio al futuro

On air March 13th 2021

Visiting a recycling plant

By ecology, sdg 12

One of my first pieces for my TV gig Occhio allo Spreco was shot in a plastic recycling plant. I am fascinated now as I was then by the potential of circular economy. I took advantage of this “throwback” to dig up fresh data. What I found is encouraging on one hand, discouraging on the other, because this pandemic is also putting waste management systems in crisis. And circular systems clash with linear ones.
According to a study by Corepla, the Italian consortium for the collection and disposal of plastic waste, conducted with the Fondazione per lo sviluppo sostenibile, the lockdown in March and April 2020 led to an 8% increase in plastic packaging for food, compared to the same period in 2019.
However, this coincided with the export freeze of 16 thousand tons of waste, due to the limitations imposed by Covid-19. Furthermore, construction activities have slowed down, reducing the amount of non-recyclable plastics used in cement factories, which in turn has saturated the capacity of the national recycling plants. Add the fact that three is less demand for recycled materials. The result is that the share of waste-to-energy waste has increased, but the incinerators are also overloaded, so about 42,000+ tons of waste ended up in landfills compared to last year. And these are partial numbers, because they refer to the first part of the year. And what about the immense volume of disposable masks, considered hazardous waste?
Looking at the pre-Covid trend, in 2019 the collection of differentiated plastics increased by 13% compared to 2018, with an average of about 23 kg / person, which puts Italy among the countries that recycle the most in Europe. However, according to the WWF, Italy is also the first producer in Europe of plastic products and the second for the volume of waste. It is up to us consumers to reduce the consumption of disposable plastic products and packaging. Now.

Cristina: Follow me. Now let’s get into the heart of the plant. Here you see garbage bags that have already been sorted.

Fabio Masotina: Most of the packaging consists of plastic bottles, shopping bags, cans and tinplate – our can of tuna. The first step consists in opening the bag, by a machine that tears them apart.

Cristina: As you can see, all the materials from our packaging are separated here thanks to modern technologies. The cans are identified by a magnet and this activates a compressed air device that pushes them into a dedicated container. The plastics remaining on the belt are separated by a vacuum which lifts the lighter bags. The trays and bottles are divided into various colors by an optical reader. See, what you separate at home arrives here. Fabio what do the bottles and the trays become?

Fabio Masotina: Tables, chairs, sweaters, furnishings and various gadgets.

Cristina: Do you see how many things can be made from plastic materials? Thank you Fabio! I’m Cristina, back to you in the studio!

On air November 8,2008

Recycled Design with Paolo Ulian

By ecology, sdg 12

Creative recycling is in keeping with the demands of our times. I dug up an old story with designer Paolo Ulian because his solutions are clever, they look good and are easy to make. Have fun!

Cristina: This pen was designed to be disposable, but today, we try not to throw everything away. When the ink runs out, let’s see what it can become.

Paolo Ulian: We take the clear barrel and insert a nylon cable, one by one. You can string up to four, five barrels and then attach a very simple decorative bead. We take this little crimp, which is a small clamp, stretch the nylon and tighten it with pliers. At this point we have a jointed arm. We take the cap, any color we choose, close it and then the arm can be slipped into the base of a lamp.

Cristina: And with a bottle like this Paolo, what do you do?

Paolo Ulian: We crush it as if we were going to dispose of it, then I go attach the bottle by screwing it in, so that I can use it as a coat rack.

Cristina: Very beautiful. And when they’re not crushed, they fit together.

Paolo Ulian: They fit together to make this screen, simply by mounting them like this. And then with a little imagination and creativity and the same system, you can also build a very simple lamp.

Cristina: And this is a swimming cap, which in Paolo’s hands becomes…

Paolo Ulian: By thinking about the environment and having some good ideas, you can do many things that help us live better.

Cristina: Long live your ingenuity and occhio allo spreco!

On air May 16, 2009

Alisea – circular design

By ecology, sdg 10, sdg 12, sdg 15, sdg 17, sdg 8, sdg 9, technology

Susanna Martucci Fortuna, founder of Alisea, turned a crisis into an opportunity. She created an all-Italian supply chain of advanced engineers, designers and craftsmen to give new life to industrial waste.

Cristina: Today we’re meeting a woman who turned a crisis into an opportunity. She was losing her company, and grappling with what to do, she remembered a conversation about recycling and questioned how she could give new life to industrial waste, which abounds in her district of Vicenza. She took her idea to the experts and created an all-Italian supply chain of advanced engineers, designers and craftsmen. Let’s go meet her and see what she does. Good morning Susanna, what are we looking at here?

Susanna Martucci: This is all about graphite: these are graphite electrodes and this powder is the unavoidable waste of the production process, recovered from the factories’ ventilation systems. We reclaim this dust and make it into a new material. This is a granule made with 80% of this waste. This new material, which comes from circular economy, has led us to design an innovative process to make pencils, without wood or glue to attach the eraser. Each pencil removes 15 grams of graphite powder from landfills and in a year we save 60,000 trees – we don’t think about all the wood that goes into your normal pencil.

Cristina: Did you do anything else with graphite?

Susanna Martucci: Yes, we clearly fell in love with this material. In this other case we always start from graphite powder, but add water, a process we use to dye fabrics. The young designers we work with dye all sorts of materials – wool, denim, silk, organic cotton – in a totally non-toxic way. This here, is instead recycled plastic, which we turn into rulers, record sleeves, and more, all from recycled post-consumer bottles.

Cristina: All this thanks to Susanna’s creativity and determination. These children’s puzzles are made from recycled fair stands and so are these bags. We’re running out of time, but this is also graphite with recycled cork. These are made from coffee bags and leather scraps. Susanna’s work addresses 6 of the 17 SDGs: 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, and 17. Occhio al futuro!

On air February 29, 2020

Econyl – regenerated nylon yarn

By ecology, sdg 12, sdg 13, sdg 15, sdg 16, sdg 4, sdg 6, sdg 7, sdg 8, technology

We know that the textile industry, as a whole, is among the biggest polluters. However, there are those who are turning the tide: Aquafil, with its regenerated nylon yarn Econyl, produces textile fibers from scraps, waste and new materials. Producing positive actions and changes for the economy, society and the environment, along their entire production chain.

Cristina: We know that the textile industry, as a whole, is among the biggest polluters. However, there are those who are turning the tide by producing textile fibers from scraps, waste and new materials.
In this company, the factories are powered 100% by renewable energies and closed cycle water is used in every phase of production. They’ve implemented environmental protocols throughout the supply chain and educational projects for employees and in schools.
Research is carried out on new biomass materials, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced every year, programs to protect the seas are promoted and life cycle analysis are carried out for all products. Together, these actions fulfill 8 of the 17 SDGs – the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For every 10,000 tons of raw material from the recycling process, 70,000 barrels of oil are avoided and the equivalent of 57,100 tons of CO2 are saved.
This is how fishing nets are transformed, along with other nylon waste. In 2018, 78 tons were recovered from NGOs operating throughout Europe. Once cleaned, the nets are chemically transformed, the liquid becomes polymer and the polymer becomes yarn. The result is that more and more yarn comes from a regeneration process. To become carpets, glasses, bags, clothes, swimwear.
Dr. Bonazzi, can you imagine fulfilling the nylon market demand with only recycled and reclaimed materials?

Giulio Bonazzi: No, unfortunately not, even if all nylon could be recovered, it would never be enough to guarantee future needs. In addition, recycling has its own environmental impact, we try to constantly improve it, but it’s important to understand how we recycle and how to minimize impacts during the process.

Cristina: What does it mean for you to innovate? Both as a citizen and as an entrepreneur?

Giulio Bonazzi: For me, innovating means quitting something that’s outdated to do something new. Before recycling you have to reduce raw materials, reuse and then, recycle.

Cristina: Do you already have a new family of materials ready?

Giulio Bonazzi: Yes, we want to produce nylon from renewable sources or from biomass, actually we’ve already produced the first kilos.

Cristina: Could we notice the difference between yarn derived from oil, recycling or biomass?

Giulio Bonazzi: No, the finished products are perfectly identical but the difference in environmental impact is huge.

Cristina: What a fine example of circular economy. Thanks Dr. Bonazzi. Occhio al futuro!

On air January 18, 2020

Investigating e-waste

By ecology, sdg 12, sdg 13, sdg 15, sdg 9, technology

Precious metals in electronics present three problems: damage to the environment during extraction, the short life span of the devices themselves and not being properly recycled at the end of their life cycle. It’s estimated that by 2080, the largest mineral reserves will no longer be underground, but on the surface – in the form of ingots or as parts of building materials, appliances, furniture and devices.
Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi of Studio Formafantasma conducted an ambitious survey on the recycling of electronic waste with their Ore Streams project – on display during Broken Nature at the Milan Triennale.

Cristina: This drawer is made with an old computer case. Did you know that electrical and electronic waste are the fastest-growing sector and only 30% of it is recycled. Working on the remaining 70% is very complex because the objects we are talking about are complex, as are their supply chains.

Simone Farresin: Dismantling the objects is fundamental, therefore a universal screw system would be very useful. Then, the color black, used for electrical cables, can’t be detected by the optical readers used to separate them. Simply changing the color would help identify them and recover the copper. It would also be fundamental to establish a labeling system that tells the user, when they buy electronics, how long the product will last. These objects are recycled but in a slightly more sophisticated way in our countries, while developing countries need color codes to help them detect the dangerous components so they don’t dismantle them manually and they’re recycled properly.

Cristina: Have you met keyplayers for your project along the entire supply chain? Where have you encountered the greatest resistance?

Andrea Trimarchi: I must say that one of the most complex things was actually getting in touch with the electronics manufacturers. We spoke with universities, producers, recycling companies, even people who deal with laws. They were available and welcomed us, while the manufacturers didn’t.

Cristina: Why aren’t they willing to be part of the solution?

Simone Farresin: Probably because right now it’s very complex to invest economic resources and really change things. They take baby steps which are used symbolically as an advertising strategy instead of showing real interest in recycling these products.

Cristina: You have a solution for the problem at hand, what is it?

Andrea Trimarchi: One of the most likely solutions would be to organize tables where the various players in the production chain, from electronics manufacturers to recyclers and also designers, meet to discuss these issues.

Cristina: It seems absurd, isn’t this already happening?

Andrea Trimarchi: Unfortunately not, even in the legislative sphere recyclers and producers are often brought together, but most of the time us designers, people who actually transform raw materials into objects, are not part of the conversation.

Cristina: Design can and, in this case, does have a political role, let’s be inspired. Occhio al futuro

On air 30-3-2019

Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

By ecology, features, sdg 12

Escaping the vortex of comfortable yet damaging habits is a great challenge, but change is harder to think about than to face. Chris Jordan knows this well. At 40 he chooses to leave a law career and the culture of consumerism that he used to defend becomes the subject of his art.

Inspired by the works of Andreas Gursky and Richard Misrach, he studies large format photography, attracted by the superior quality of detail.
As a post-modern archaeologist, he explores ports, industrial areas, landfills, on location and in studio. The more he sees, the more he perceives the contradictions, confusion and absurdity of what he calls “a slow-motion apocalypse”.

In front of his photographs, it’s impossible to remain oblivious. Choreographed and interpreted with great artistic sensitivity, Jordan’s works denounce a growing degradation. From a distance, his images seduce the eye, while up close they spark the mind and engage the heart.

“I belong to a community of thinkers, artists, poets and scientists who are aware of how unsustainable our present model of consumption has become – but we’re on the margins of society: at the center there is an immensely powerful machine controlled by industry, oil companies and politicians, people who live in total denial and just don’t see how devastating the effects of consumerism are, not only for nature but also for the human psyche” says Jordan.

Running the Numbers and Running the Numbers II, ongoing series from 2006, look at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. A collective voracity that nobody wants to be responsible for. “People enjoy discovering the multiple layers of my images”, says Chris.
“During exhibits they ask questions, get passionate and upset, but their motivation is like the stroke of an oar: it creates a whirlpool that slowly expands and disappears in the current.”

We know we’re destroying the planet yet collectively nothing seems to change. The cumulative effects of mass consumption are not sustainable. Only our conscience can evaluate the damage, choosing to care and to believe that our daily actions matter.

Albatross by Chris Jordan

By ecology, sdg 12, sdg 15

The American artist and filmmaker Chris Jordan faces us with a reality that is physically remote but that we unconsciously contribute to. During numerous journeys to Midway Island, the farthest from any continent, he found something that we all should relate to. His hope is that we cross the threshold with him, as an act of collective consciousness.

Albatross can be watched for free at: www.albatrossthefilm.com

Chris Jordan: The first time I went I only saw the dead birds, so i experienced the island as a kind of silent horrible killing field and I’ll never forget the moment of stepping off the plane the second time as the door opened, instead of being met with silence and the smell of death, i was met with a million of these magnificent beings, dancing and singing all day long and all night long.

Cristina: It took you eight years to really complete the journey both outward and inward what were the key turning points in that process?

Chris Jordan: Being with the birds as they died as they choked to death on plastic and as they died of the toxicity and as they starved to death even though their stomachs were completely full of plastic, it happened over and over again i was with them in that moment and I experienced far more feeling than i thought i ever would. And as grief washed over me in waves time after time i had this transformational experience of realizing that grief is not a bad experience. Grief is not the same as sadness or despair or depression. Grief is the love that we feel for a being that we love that we’re losing or that is suffering.

Cristina: And did you find that that love transferred to the celebration of life as well?

Chris Jordan: It connected me with something that i didn’t even know i had in me which is the love that i feel for the miracle of life

Cristina: Your film is traveling the world, what are the reactions that you’ve seen so far and what do you hope that, overall, people will take from it?

Chris Jordan: It’s been amazing to share it with audiences from all over the world. I find everywhere that people are craving to reconnect with the essential part of ourselves, the deepest part of ourselves, that loves our world, and loves each other and and that loves life.