In late May, the RREUSE network gathered in Bologna to attend conferences, network meetings and visit local social enterprise initiatives.
The programme started off with a workshop on bio waste and more specifically, focused on the transformation of used cooking oils into new products such as biofuels, candles or detergents.
The following two days were dedicated to sessions on the various work areas of the RREUSE network which included detailed discussions on the implementation of new waste rules set under the EU Commission’s Circular Economy Package.
Following this, one of our members – La Città Verde – invited us to familiarise ourselves with its activities first-hand. The social cooperative has a wide range of activities including gardening, waste management, street furnishings, waste treatment, social and educational services, and garage works. On our site visit at La Città Verde’s composting plant, we were told about the three steps to make compost within 90 days. In 2017, La Città Verde collected 1.100.000 bins and produced over 4 million kilo grams of compost. Whilst very committed to creating a positive environmental impact, the social cooperative also cares greatly about its social impact. In its different operations, La Città Verde inserts people who were distant from the labour market and constitute more than one third of its work force. The social cooperative currently employs a total of 140 people and is devising a strategy to integrate more people with disabilities into its work, by developing new areas, such as upcycling products.
On our last day in Bologna, we had the chance to participate in a conference organised by Recooper, a social cooperative active in the regions of Bologna, Ferrara, Modena and Rimini. Recooper aims at being an innovative operator in the textile sector by offering services of collection in offices, parishes or in schools and by creating an interactive map for people to find the containers online. The conference brought together different European experts of re-use of different materials, including electric equipment and textiles.
All in all, this was an enriching experience in the city that is home to the oldest university in the world.