BUSINESS OWNERS LEARN THE BENEFITS OF INDUSTRY 4.0 AND THE EPR LAW TO IMPLEMENT MODELS OF CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Details on the extended producer responsibility and recycling promotion law, the European experience with industry 4.0, and the Fenix pilot programme on Circular Economy, were some of the draw points for audiences who attended the workshops in Nacimiento and Santiago, Chile.
Entrepreneurs, business owners and association representatives from the city of Nacimiento (in the Bio Bio Region) and Santiago participated this past 2 and 4 October, respectively, in workshops to learn more about advanced manufacturing technologies and industry 4.0 and the extended producer responsibility and recycling promotion law, better known as the EPR Law for Circular Economy.
Both workshops included sessions on “Circular economy and industry 4.0 focused on the metal mechanics and metallurgy sector, with a company or consortium success story,” given by Raffaello Benetti, Partnership & Networking Manager of Strategic Promotion – Milan Chamber of Commerce; and on “Compliance with the EPR Law through the implementation of expressions of advanced manufacturing and aspects of circular economy,” led by Marcelo Soto, consultant.
The activity was carried out within the framework of the Technology Dissemination Programme: “Circular Economy as a Strategy to Improve Competitiveness and Productivity Through Access to New Technologies and Innovations in the Processes and Management of SMEs from the Metal Mechanics and Metallurgy Sector,” executed by Eurochile and co-funded by Innova Chile of Corfo.
During his talk, Raffaello Benetti defined the circular economy as “the achievement of an economic and production model in which the products, materials and resources remain within the economy for as long as possible in order to reduce the generation of waste to a minimum.”
He explained to participants that industry 4.0 (or the fourth industrial revolution, referring to digitalisation) is geared towards productivity in the workplace; productivity of materials, capital and energy; more improved products and services; and new business models.
He revealed the Fenix pilot project, which has been implemented by business consortia from six European countries and considers the principles of Industry 4.0 and Circular Economy, with the goal of enhancing the development of business models and innovative supply chains.
Benetti remarked that in both workshops, he “met business owners who are very committed to and interested in the development of new technologies and taking advantage of these new suggested solutions.”
He added that, “the Fenix project is currently in operation, and during the next two years it will need to define the most suitable technologies for the recovery cycle of all types of waste. The technology already exists, but there are cheaper solutions and other, more complex solutions. During this phase, the pilot programme will not involve companies in the production sense, but rather for prototypes. The goal is to generate a practical plan that can be used by any company or corporate group.”
On the other hand, consultant Marcelo Soto spoke about Law 20,920 for waste management, extended producer responsibility and the promotion of recycling, which requires manufacturers and importers of certain products to organise and finance the management of the waste generated by their products. The purpose of the law is to reduce the generation of waste and promote its reuse, recycling, or other application.
Marcelo Soto evaluated his conversation with the business owners positively. “Both in Nacimiento and in Santiago, the EPR Law generated quite a bit of interest among participants. For example, there was one business owner who was surprised to learn that importers of priority products must also comply with this law.”
He stressed that, “the SMEs who must comply with the EPR Law will have to come together to best respond to these demands. On the other hand, this gives SMEs the opportunity to rethink what they are doing and see if and how they fit within a circular economy system, probably not in the entire chain, but in one section and always in association with other companies, to generate a scale economy where the base product comes from another company and the final product may be used by another. An important cultural change is coming.”
Marichen Galdames, Project Manager of the CORFO Department of Technology Dissemination and Context for Innovation, an entity which funds the programme executed by Eurochile, stated that, “in 2019, we are looking to organise a number of calls for proposals in the area of circular economy, because it is an up-and-coming issue. So, we have to work with companies now for them to learn about and start to implement this concept.”
She added that, “Eurochile is transmitting and disseminating these issues, and there are several entities that are collaborating in this task. Meanwhile, at Corfo we are channelling and assigning funds to companies that begin to innovate and work on new processes and products around this concept of circular economy to reduce waste.”
Ivonne Palma, Eurochile Project Coordinator, highlighted the participation of the attendees and the conversation generated between them and the presenters.
“I want to take the opportunity to invite more companies to join this technology dissemination programme, to improve their access to and knowledge of new technologies, innovations and business models that contribute to the sustainable development of the metal mechanics and metallurgy sector and incorporate Circular Economy, the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Law and Industry 4.0,” she stressed.
Participants’ Evaluation of the Workshop
Jorge Miranda, who is in charge of creating sustainability projects at CreCom, said that, “the talk was quite interesting, especially to hear the perspective of someone who is not from Chile and who can tell you about what is happening right now in Europe. The Fenix project they were talking about really caught my attention. It opens up a wealth of ideas of what can be done within the Circular Economy.”
Enzo Ocaranza and Juan Jorquera from Químicos Industriales Futuroil agreed that the workshops were “very interesting because they showed that there is a policy promoted by both governmental and non-governmental entities focused on recycling, and that is fundamental for those of us who work in a recycling company that has been in the market for over 30 years, and especially the EPR Law. We believe that the topics addressed by the Italian expert are key issues for the future, which is very interesting and means that we have to start looking at new technologies and new projects. So, we really appreciate the initiative.”
Paola Hernández, representative of Oppici, a national manufacturing company dedicated to the food & drink and healthcare sectors, said the talks were, “inspiring and helped motivate companies to adopt these innovation models and create new companies that transform waste into new products.”
See Photo Gallery
Mr. Raffaello Benetti, Partnership & Networking Manager – Strategic Promotion Areas – Milan Chamber of Commerce. Circular economy and industry 4.0 focused on the metal mechanics and metallurgy sector, with a company or consortium success story.
Mr. Marcelo Soto. National Consultant. Compliance with the EPR Law through the implementation of expressions of advanced manufacturing and aspects of circular economy.