Logroño, (EFE).- The search for biomaterials is one of the main challenges of the recycling of the future and one of the lines of research in which the first circular economy innovation center in Europe works TheCircularLab, created by Ecoembes and located in Logroño .
This was explained to EFE by the Innovation Manager of Ecoembes, José Luis Moreno, in a retrospective interview about the six years in operation of this center, in which he also addresses the future challenges of recycling.
TheCircularLab’s Ecodesign line is working on the development of a tool that allows analyzing the environmental impact of a container to find new uses for recycled materials or investigate new materials or biomaterials, such as plastic created from fruit remains. and vegetables, he specified.
It is about advancing in the packaging of the future so that “it is increasingly recyclable, more sustainable and, ultimately, more circular”, stressed the Innovation Manager of Ecoembes, the non-profit organization that cares for the environment through recycling and ecodesign of light household packaging in Spain.
Recycle more and better
For Ecoembes, the future of recycling also involves making it easier for citizens, so that they recycle “more and better,” said Moreno.
To this end, TheCircularLab has developed the mobile applications “Aire”, which solves doubts about where each piece of waste should be recycled, and “Reciclos”, which encourages the recycling of cans and plastic drink bottles with social and environmental incentives.
In addition, the “SmartWaste” line of research is making it possible to incorporate the latest technology in infrastructures, through the installation of sensors and GPS systems in containers and collection trucks to optimize processes, among other aspects, it has reported.
The “Entrepreneurship” area helps to devise, incubate and accelerate initiatives that pursue the promotion of the circular economy.
In this project, startups have found a space to work collaboratively with other external partners – such as other startups, companies or administrations.
Thus, “the center has reviewed and analyzed more than 10,000 startups from different continents and has accelerated to 48 in just six years,” Moreno stressed.
It has also promoted initiatives such as goCircular Radar, the first map of innovative companies within the field of circular economy, with which the center makes visible their work in the field of circular economy and continues to promote their collaboration with other groups.
In the area of training, the Observatory of the Container of the Future, in collaboration with the AINIA technology center, aims to help the companies that are part of Ecoembes to be informed of current events in the sector.
Another of Ecoembes’ current commitments is to promote young talent and, with CircularTalentLab, a training program has been created, which has welcomed more than 65 young talents to work on circular economy, recycling and innovation for six months to solve a predefined challenge.
Since its creation, in 2017, TheCircularLab has promoted 180 projects, and develops the recycling of the future, in collaboration with more than 200 organizations, which has made it “a benchmark” in research and development of recycling and the circular economy. , Moreno has stressed.
A man deposits organic waste in its corresponding container in Logroño. Archive image, EFE/Abel Alonso
Recycling is increasingly established
The habit of recycling, he explained, “is increasingly established” in Spain, where in 2022 1.6 million containers were recycled, the highest figure since container recycling began to spread in this country with the approval of the law that promoted it, now 25 years ago.
However, he believes that “there is still a long way to go to ensure that the circular economy model, which allows waste to be given a second life, evolves and settles”.
The reduction or reuse, he has reported, are some concepts for which “we must also continue betting, and part of the work that is carried out from our innovation center focuses on this”. EFE