SIRCLES in Italy: a project made by the people for the people and their territory


The pilot project in Italy was completed on Tuesday 7 March at the ANCI Puglia (The Association of Municipalities of Apulian Region) headquarters in Bari.

The pannel at the SIRCLES project final conference in Italy

"This project has forced us to say that true circular economy is one that has a social focus" says Lella Miccolis, President of CIC, SIRCLES project’s partner in Italy. An articulated and ambitious project, an intense year that involved 4 municipalities of the Valle d'Itria (Alberobello, Putignano, Locorotondo and Noci) and 7 in-job trainees selected and contracted for 10 months, in which they were trained as specialized figures on the circular economy and the organic waste supply chain.

Last Tuesday was an opportunity to talk about this year full of experiences, thanks to a plurality of voices each representing a specific aspect of this project. From the Mayors, to the technicians, from the Third Sector, to the school world, an overview was offered that shows the real goal of SIRCLES: a project made by the people for the people and for their territory.

This initiative has shown that the circular economy can also have a significant impact in social and economic terms with the creation of new job opportunities and the inclusion of categories at risk of social exclusion.

Sample of the compost

In addition, through meetings, survey and awareness-raising activities, crucial information was found useful on the habits of separate collection of biowaste for directing future initiatives to improve the quality of the biowaste supply chain. Thanks to these activities, carried out by the in-job trainees on the territory, the need emerged to strengthen information and education on the issues of circular economy and the organic waste chain, especially towards younger age groups. Although, in fact, separate waste collection is a consolidated habit, there is still no real awareness on all the phases of the biowaste supply chain and of all the economic and environmental advantages that a virtuous recycling entails. This is especially true for the youngest, to whom two environmental education meetings have been dedicated at the IISS  Agrario Alberghiero Basil e Caramia - Gigante  di Locorotondo e Alberobello. In addition, 3 composting modules provided by the CIC and managed by appropriately trained students and school operators were inaugurated in the latter location.

There is still a long way to go, but SIRCLES project in Italy has been a seed that must be cultivated to enhance the great wealth of information, skills and experience collected  to continue to improve, together, the environment and our territory.

The coordination of the SIRCLES – Italy project (Supporting Circular Economy Opportunities for Employment and Social Inclusion), funded by the European Union through  the ENI CBC Med 2014 -2020 program, is organized by the Italian Composters Consortium in collaboration with PROGEVA S.r.l.  – Organic waste composting company;  CIHEAM Bari – Center for postgraduate training, applied scientific research and planning of interventions within the framework of research and international cooperation programs;  Sud Est Donne – Association of Social Promotion that deals with preventing and combating violence against women;  Officine Sostenibile Società Benefit - environmental communication company.