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Eye of Dubai
Business & Money | Thursday 4 November, 2021 1:09 pm |
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CIRCULAR ECONOMY: BEST PRACTICES FROM WALLONIA, BELGIUM

Circular Wallonia – The Walloon strategy

 

The deployment of the circular economy is mostly seen as an opportunity to boost the economy in a regenerative way that operates within the limits of the planet. The use of resources should be further optimized by repairing, reusing and recycling more but, above all, by designing products and services that do not create additional sources of waste.

 

Wallonia’s vision of the circular economy is based on moving towards a carbon-neutral economy which is both resilient and inclusive. It is also focused on stimulating innovation as a catalyst by relying particularly on nature-based solutions and digital transition. With Circular Wallonia, the region’s strategy to implement circular economy, Wallonia intends to progress along the path mapped out by Europe with its Green Deal, and thus contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, halting the decline of biodiversity and improving the employment rate. 

 

The strategic objectives of Circular Wallonia include: 

• Replacing fossil fuels or non-sustainably produced resources by renewable and widely available resources wherever possible by 2050; 

• Increasing the productivity of resources by 25% between 2020 and 2035; 

• Reducing the direct material input and domestic material consumption by 25% by 2030 (compared to 2013); 

• Increasing the number of Walloon jobs contributing directly and indirectly to the circular economy by 20% by 2025.

 

Circular Wallonia includes over 60 measures with an estimated budget of over €200 million to ensure the deployment of the circular economy and to achieve Wallonia’s strategic objectives throughout six value chains : 

  • Construction and buildings;
  • Water;
  • Plastics;
  • Textiles;
  • Metallurgy (including rare/critical metals and batteries) ; 
  • Food industry and food systems.

 

GREENWIN – the environment cluster of Wallonia

 

GreenWin is the Walloon innovation cluster supported by public funding that is dedicated to collaborative innovation projects in the three areas of green chemistry, innovative building materials and processes, and the environment.

 

In a world where resources and their access are, by nature, limited, the GreenWin innovation cluster was set up in 2011 with the aim of contributing, through industrial innovation, to the most crucial societal needs and issues of this century such as moving towards circular practices or finding concrete solutions to the economic and environmental challenges that our region, and also our planet, face.

 

GreenWin is an accelerator of innovative and collaborative industrial projects such as RECYPLUS which aims to seek out the household plastic waste in our rubbish bags or REBINDER dedicated to the valorization of automotive glass waste for instance.  

 

GREENWIN gathers together different protagonists from the worlds of economics and academia in order to bring about, and implement, the technological innovations able to generate regional economic development. As an illustration, a prominent member is MATERIA NOVA, a research and development center gathering more than 80 scientists to work on advanced and disruptive technologies in the field of sustainable materials, multifunctional surfaces, materials for energy and biotechnology.

 

Saudi Arabia spearheading regional efforts to combat climate change.

 

In Saudi Arabia, the efforts to pave the way for a greener future in the MENA region are going full speed thanks to several initiatives launched by the authorities such as Saudi Green (SGI) or Middle East Green (MGI) which forum was held just 2 weeks ago in the capital Riyadh. As we now know, Saudi Arabia, together with public and private partners such as Aramco or KAUST, has adopted the circular carbon economy framework as a way to reduce its carbon footprint.

 

Among the 5 priorities set forth by the SGI lies recycling. And to carry out the Kingdom’s vision, the government created a dedicated public company: SIRC – the executive arm behind the circular economy. According to its website: The Saudi Investment Recycling Company aims to achieve the environmental and sustainability goals outlined in Vision 2030 by contributing to the development of waste management, encouraging recycling, preserving natural resources, and transitioning to a circular economy, in addition to seeking out investment opportunities, forging alliances with local partners and attracting foreign investments.

 

Saudi Arabia produces 50 million tons of waste per year – and almost all of that ends up in landfills. Under Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia aims to reduce waste sent to landfill by 94 percent by 2035.

 

Walloon technology in Saudi Arabia – the perfect match!

 

This is where Wallonia comes in. Thanks to public funding and policy support, innovation in the field of recycling and upcycling is strongly encouraged by the region through various projects, initiatives and cooperations with the private sector. Innovative companies in the field of recycling include MENART (dedicated to designing and manufacturing composting machines and waste sorting plants), PHOENIX PLUS (one of the main player for the collection, trade and recycling of non-ferrous wastes and plastics in Europe), COMET (family-owned industrial group, specializing in trading ferrous and non-ferrous metals and the derivatives thereof) or ECOSTERYL (world leader in the niche sector of treatment and recycling of infectious medical waste), and much more! Below are 2 examples of success stories from Wallonia which technology is exactly what Saudi Arabia is looking for.

 

MULTIPICK – Reverse Metallurgy

 

Multipick is a ground-breaking innovative robotic solution for sorting metals from dismantled vehicles and used household appliances. This unique industrial demonstrator is the result of five years' research and development by engineers from the GeMMe laboratory of the Faculty of Applied Sciences at ULiège, the industrial integrator Citius engineering and the COMET Group. This European leader in the recycling of ferrous and non-ferrous metals plans to invest almost 10 million euros in Reverse Metallurgy to install a robotised line on its Obourg site in the Mons region. It is expected to have one of the highest sorting capacities in the world.

 

The line developed by the partners of Reverse Metallurgy (the Walloon platform of industrial, technological and scientific recycling excellence) recognises the nature of the different metals thanks to a combination of different X-ray, spectral and 3D sensors. Artificial intelligence uses the information provided by these sensors for each piece and makes the sorting decision, which is transmitted to the sorting robots that operate at a much faster rate than manual sorting, and with unparalleled accuracy.

 

Multipick will be able to sort 20,000 tons of metal waste per year, or one billion pieces, at a rate of 16 pieces per second!

 

World first: metals sorted by robots | Wallonia.be

World's first - metals sorted by robots! 

 

 

ECOSTERYL – Innovation in medical waste treatment and recycling

 

As a machine manufacturer for more than 70 years, Ecosteryl has developed unique expertise in the development of state-of-the-art specialized eco-friendly equipment. 

 

A pioneer in the field, Ecosteryl, which has specialized in “mechanics and shredding” since 1947, Ecosteryl’s machines decontaminate potentially infectious medical waste by using a microwave technology that continuously heats the “shreds” of this sensitive waste. Microwaves are directed at the shred infectious medical waste, which passes through a tunnel for 3 minutes. The waste, which has a naturally a high moisture content, is exposed to microwaves that change direction more than 2 billion times per second. The water molecules, which are sensitive to this agitation, see their temperature rise. The Ecosteryl machines maintain this temperature at 100°C, a system that, like autoclaves, decontaminates infectious medical waste but without the use of water. At the end of the process, the decontaminated shreds are sorted out in another machine called R-Steryl, a unique process in the world! The video can be seen here.

 

Ecosteryl aims to eradicate the environmental and health problems, associated with medical waste in the world.

With more than 200 installations in over 60 countries, Ecosteryl is a leader in the management of infectious medical waste.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted Ecosteryl’s quick and robust infectious medical waste decontamination solutions and Ecosteryl is now selected as a key supplier by renowned global organizations such as World Health Organization, World Bank, United Nations, the Pasteur Institute or Solar Impulse Foundation.

 

ECOSTERYL 250 treating 250 Kg per hour 

 

Saudi companies and organizations can contact us for more information about our companies’ solutions at [email protected]

 

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