As materials gain new capacity at being renewable, as they, progressively, extend occasions for applied use and re-use, new opportunities for production continuously appear before us. Hence, not only does the notion of Renewable Matter provide new horizons for the establishment of future industrial strategies, but it completes the transition initiated through the spread of Renewable Energy. To put this concept into practice, it needs to diffuse, to gain support through new ideas and bold policies, transformed into concrete tools that help the international exchange of experiences. Edizioni Ambiente has decided to produce this magazine for all these reasons.
Renewable Matter is not simply a magazine: it is primarily a system of relationships and ideas linking businesses, institutions, experts and opinion makers. It aims at being a collective product, in which the main actors of the current change, work with the magazine to identify the most delicate and most significant innovations that are defining the new scenario. Only by building and developing this alliance with its partners is the Renewable Matter magazine freely available to decision-makers and the wider public, in English and in Italian. Accordingly, all materials are also available on either an English language site or an Italian site in various formats. Users are only required to register to the publisher’s network to allow monitoring of the magazine’s public and to ensure communication efficiency.
Renewable Matter magazine is available in the following formats:
- Paper print format in English and Italian (only format distributed at a cover price).
- Freely downloadable electronic formats (English and Italian sites): Html, browsable, PDF, EPub
The title Renewable Matter was chosen to avoid falling within the paddocks of the various schools of thought (Bioeconomy - Circular Economy - Sharing Economy - Blue Economy - Green Economy etc.). Our task is to witness the current radical transition, concerning the economy of material flows, by relaying theories, ideas, contradictions, innovations, debates and concrete experiences that are forging the new scenario. For this reason, the magazine welcomes all the visions that have scientific dignity or industrial capacity. However, since sustainability stands as a major priority of the magazine, special attention is given to issues and projects that are especially relevant to this goal.
What is meant by Renewable Matter
The subject of Renewable Matter implies considering as a continuous stream all materials involved in industrial production and consumption. In this setting, individual products are merely transitory phases taken within the transformation of matter, without affecting the continuity of the flow. Industrial production has until now "exploited" materials and territory, and considered such consumption as being an inevitable by-product of development, implying that only "defensive strategies” could be implemented to establish rules to limit environmental damages. The approach adopted by the Renewable Matter magazine considers materials and territory as permanent resources, assimilated as basic natural "heritage" which, as such, should not be compromised and, at most, should be exploited intelligently to generate regular income. Which material flows can "renewability" operate on? Obviously, it is possible to act on all flows; however, we can distinguish three principal areas that have very different characteristics, namely: basic raw materials (commodities), biomaterials, and waste materials.
Obviously, the heart of the problem lies with basic raw materials and their use. Tracking their flow means tracking the performance of the economy and the distribution of income at a time when further complexity is caused by trade and financial globalization. Within this changing scenario, recent trends to replace products with the services (for instance, by marketing car usage rather than car ownership) can radically transform the economics of materials. The theme needs to be analysed and monitored very carefully because it deeply affects the feasibility of what we call sustainable development.
Biomaterials. These materials come from the organic world (for example, from agricultural products) and as such can be regenerated in relatively short biological times, so much so that may be defined as being "renewable". Given their origin, these materials can also be biodegradable, which greatly reduces their impact on the environment when they reach end of life. In other words, they offer an endless source of low environmental impact materials that, thanks to technological innovation, can become a supply source for a variety of industries, contributing advantageously to the classic commodities market.
Wastes. The fact that waste, besides merely being "a resource put in the wrong place" is increasingly measurable in monetary terms. Therefore, it is clear that the enormous flow of materials that turn into waste cannot simply end up becoming wastes and should be enhanced in some way. But how? The approaches are very diverse. If upstream products are designed without considering later downstream waste generating impacts, then all waste recovery efforts become very difficult. If, instead, those who design and generate products provide an efficient strategy for the scraps, the amount of material wasted becomes minimal. Therefore, through appropriate treatments, wastes either can become as good as raw materials or be partially recovered, or even be destined for energy recovery or disposal. Renewable Matter lays within this spectrum.