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Newsletter April 2021

EBAE SNIPPETS

Satisfaction survey: 88% of companies benefited from EBAE!

“Innovation is the enabler that will drive and accelerate the circular economy agenda, and the European Business Awards for the Environment prove that many economic solutions are already at hand, paving the road for the green transition.” Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries (EBAE Ceremony November 2020)

As this 2020-21 cycle of the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) draws to a close, all EBAE participants should congratulate themselves on taking part in a year like no other, take stock of the words of EU Commissioner Sinkevičius and take pride in their contribution to paving the road for the European Green transition.

As the European Commission considers the next steps for EBAE under the framework of their policy priorities, we would like to emphasise the success and exposure that EBAE has brought to former participants. In addition to celebrating and showcasing European innovation in the sustainability sphere, EBAE brings many tangible benefits to the companies who take part.

Previous EBAE winners have praised the ‘contacts and publicity…at European level, which led to new clients and an increase in exports’ that EBAE exposure facilitates. This is a repeatedly echoed sentiment, with one winner describing how ‘since the awards we have been inundated by emails from all around world, asking for more information and possible partnerships. In short, no amount of investment in Public Relations could have bought us the attention we gained from being a winner of a prestigious EBAE award.’ Overall, 88% of EBAE participants feel that participation in the competition has been beneficial for their company and would recommend it to other companies.

European-wide success begins at a local level

Before seeking recognition on the continental scene for its eco-innovation achievements, your company or organisation must have competed at a national level. The dates of the next five national competitions are listed here:

National Competitions Table

EBAE national competition dates known as of 25/05/2021.

Enroll today, raise awareness about your initiatives, and become an inspiration for others in their green transition! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in contact with your National Coordinator, with the EBAE Secretariat or with Laurent Javaudin, the European Commission official in charge of the European Business Awards for the Environment.

Enrol today, raise awareness about your initiatives, and become an inspiration for others in their green transition! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in contact with the EBAE Secretariat or Laurent Javaudin, the European Commission official in charge of the European Business Awards for the Environment.

We will be more than happy to answer any queries you may have.

FOCUS ON

European Commission firm on cutting plastic pollution

Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues, as rapidly increasing production of disposable plastic products overwhelms the world’s ability to deal with them.

Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans. Depending on the type of plastic, the degradation of a plastic bag may take 10-1000 years, and the degradation of a plastic bottle may take more than 450 years.

For this reason, one year ago, the European Commission adopted an ambitious new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP). It presents 35 legislative and non-legislative initiatives to make products more sustainable, to boost circularity in key resource-intensive value chains, to enable and encourage sustainable consumption, reduce waste and foster secondary materials markets. Several of the CEAP measures focus on the sectors with highest impact on the environment.

Plastics remain a high priority. New rules were adopted on the shipments of plastic waste1, banning the export of plastic waste from the EU to non-OECD countries (except for clean plastic waste sent for recycling)2. The Commission is also currently reviewing the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive with the aim of a legal proposal that would link the design of all packaging with its end-of-life and push prevention of packaging waste. We want all packaging in the EU market to be reusable or recyclable in an economically viable manner by 2030.

In addition to packaging, the Commission will address the presence of microplastics in the environment. The term microplastics refers to plastic fragments smaller than 5 mm, often invisible to the naked eye and therefore impossible to recover and dispose of. They remain in suspension in the water or settle on the seabed, causing irreparable damage to the ecosystem.

Last December, the European Commission welcomed the final opinion from the European Chemicals Agency supporting a restriction for intentionally added microplastics to products. The intended restriction covers many sectors and is estimated to prevent about half a million tonnes of microplastics entering into the environment over 20 years. All being well, an EU-wide REACH restriction could be in place in the course of 2022. Further to that, the Commission will also develop measures to reduce the unintentional release of microplastics from plastic pellets, tyres and textiles as well as methods for measuring such releases.

Further work on biobased and biodegradable plastics is also taking place in view of a policy framework to apply to these plastics. It will focus on the sourcing, labelling and use of biobased plastics resulting in genuine environmental benefits, and on the use of biodegradable and compostable plastics that are beneficial to the environment, while respecting the internal market principles and encouraging competitiveness and innovation.

While the Institutions work on the fundamental policy framework to improve waste management systems, citizens and business can play their part by reducing the use of plastic products in their lives, and improving the recycling rate of plastic products. Some of the EBAE companies are leading the way in this respect, as you can read in the Where Are They Now section.


1Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/2174

2Decision taken by 187 countries in May 2019 at the 14th Conference of the Parties of the Basel Convention

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Plastic Repair System: disruptive technology for the industrial repair of reusable plastic articles in the circular economy

PRS Logo

Plastic Repair System is a Spanish company dedicated to the repair and maintenance of any object made of plastic. They were also a Runner-Up in the Products and Services Award category during the 2018/2019 EBAE cycle. The innovative certified and patented PRS method is based on a welding technique with high density virgin material. It’s currently deemed to be the best repair system on the plastic repairing market. PRS method guarantees 100% recovery of the object’s functionality and at least 98% of its original strength, a 70% cost savings and a 98% reduction of CO2 emission compared to other alternatives. PRS has developed a complete process that standardises the repair of each element, optimising the time needed for each repair and significantly reducing the repairing costs of large volumes of the same reference.

We caught up with Mikel Ayesa, PRS’ Commercial Manager

Repaired Base

1. Plastic waste is a big problem nowadays; can you explain us how your technology helps transform old plastic objects into new, reusable products?

We have a certified and patented welding method. During the last 10 years we have been studying the best way to repair reusable plastic items, reducing cost, times and consumption. We are also developing automatization process to improve our efficiency. We can say that we are the most trusted solution in the market.

2. Your company was a Runner-Up in the Products and Services Award category during the 2018/2019 EBAE cycle. What kind of reaction did you get locally and on social media for this achievement?

We are certain that the recognition has been important in subsequent contacts and in our business relationships.

3. What three words best describe your EBAE experience?

Opportunity, visibility and internationalisation.

4. Your business has recently doubled its production capacity - have you noticed a change in demand volume?

The COVID-19 crisis stopped the production last spring, but our clients have been still working and they needed the repairs to be done. Our service means an important saving (70%) and in time of crisis it is important to save cost and money… So maybe that is the key of the question. On the other hand, sustainability is becoming more and more important, especially after this crisis and our method is 187 times less polluting than recycling. The environmental benefit is an important plus nowadays.

5. What are your targets/goals for 2021?

We are planning to open a new subsidiary in Europe and we also are working on the automatization repairing of two specific types of product. We have materialised one of them, and the other one will be ready in the autumn.

6. As of 2019, your business has gone international! Do you plan to expand into any other European countries soon?

Yes in 2021 we expect to open a subsidiary in a new European country: maybe France, Belgium, Portugal or the UK.

7. Give us your top tips to reduce plastic consumption and waste in Europe.

Our top tip is Reuse and Repair. We have to think of designing reusable and repairable items. Plastic is a material offering a lot of benefits and it is very important in science, medicine, for energy savings… For example, if we are talking about plastic Returnable Transport Packaging (RTPs), they are easier to clean, stackable, lighter, easier to recycle, waterproof, and higher resistance, but we have to make a responsible use of it.

This video summarises PRS’s activity
https://goo.gl/w3fDu8

Here a video about the CO2 saved in 2019 with subtitles in English
https://www.plasticrepair.es/en/environmental-impact-2019/

And here a video with the example of the repaired box
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipwE87PKppc

COORDINATOR CATCH-UP

Meet Andrea Da Lio, Coordinator of Premio Impresa Ambiente and EBAE Coordinator for Italy

Andrea De Lio - Coordinator of Premio Impresa Ambiente and EBAE Coordinator for Italy

1. What made Italy decide to re-join the European Business Awards competition after five years of absence?

The main factor determining the decision to re-join the European Business Awards for the Environment competition was for sure to grant our companies the possibility to take part in it: without the National competition, of course, they could not participate in it and they could not access the bigger scenario that only this Award can offer.

Moreover, during the past years we perceived how companies were aware of and were missing the Italian edition of the Award, therefore after consulting with Unioncamere, the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, by end of 2019 we decided it was time to plan and to organise the eighth edition of the Award, which took place in 2020. The proof of this interest by companies lies in the 120+ applications from all over Italy that were submitted, considering the fact that we launched the Award in such a difficult time just after the lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic.

2. How has sustainability in business changed over the last years in Italy? Is it something that companies are becoming more aware of?

In the last few decades a lot has been said and written about the relationship between environmental goals and industrial competitiveness, that has normally been thought of as involving a trade-off between social benefits and private costs. Today it is clear that there is no antinomy, and that environmental concerns are deeply rooted in enterprises’ management and business strategy. What I can assure after awarding the winners of our competition, and after checking all the applications we received – from enterprises which differ in location, size, juridical form – is that a path toward sustainability is clearly set. The evidence suggests that environmental concerns are not only considered by companies, but they are a component of their business: many projects we examined during the awarding process are meant to be the solution to real problems our world is facing today. A recent study confirmed that one quarter of Italian companies is pursuing the green transition and is going to invest in the next three years in green products and technologies, demonstrating that green companies in 2020 are more resilient than other companies.

We can see that the projects awarded are in accordance with Green Deal and other crucial environmental goals set by the European Institutions, and somehow anticipate them. For example the project presented by Edileco. of a new model of building, based on green building and the implementation of ‘zero cost heating system’ based only on renewable energy is clearly in accordance with the goal “to address the twin challenge of energy efficiency and affordability” in the building sector.

The same can be said for Caviro S.c.a., one of the biggest companies producing wine, that developed a know-how and the relevant technology to transform all by-products into new materials, thus providing a real example of applied principles of Circular economy.

Ecoplasteam S.p.A. with its Ecoallene® proved once more that the loop can be closed: it is a new and innovative material resulting from the recycling of waste from packaging materials with different components glued together, that is formed from a plastic film and a metal film. Once paper fibres have been removed, the production is done without separating the aluminium and the polyethylene, that are aggregated in a new formulation.

In accordance with the action “to rolling out cleaner, cheaper and healthier forms of private and public transport” Waste to Methane S.r.l. and Cap Holding S.p.A. developed technologies for treating organic domestic waste to produce biomethane. And the technology developed by Earthfront S.r.l. that allows the recovery and treatment of macroplastics and microplastics, floating and suspended, transported by waterways is surely in line with the action “to restore biodiversity and cut pollution”. Enel S.p.A. organised in different developing countries several workshops ai the construction and maintenance of small solar generation units using plastic bottles and other recycled materials, creating a sustainability initiative (use of renewable sources and re-use of disposed materials in a circular economy perspective - for the reuse of materials).

PIA Logo

3. What kind of reaction are you seeing to the National Competition, both from the business and media community?

There was a strong interest from the media community, and a stronger interest than before from business, willing to enrol in the next national edition of the Award which we will be launching in the next month.

4. Three adjectives to describe this year’s Italian winners…

Creative, innovative and eager to present their projects and accomplishments.

5. And finally, what difference do you think it makes to win a European Business Award for the Environment?

I really do hope that Italian companies, which will be participating to the European Business Award for the Environment will be able to perform well! The European Award is capable of offering a wider visibility to the participants, that can thus present and promote their ideas to a bigger global market, and possibly to investors. However, the European Award will allow them to share their products and technologies, to inspire and at the same time being inspired by other companies.

For more information:
https://www.premioimpresambiente.it/

UPCOMING EVENTS