The birth of RESTARTER from the SIFOR Poject

On the 31stof October, thOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAe European project SIFOR will officially come to an end. What is the heritage of this project aimed at exchanging waste management know-how between European regions?

Initiated by the Region of Emilia Romagna and coordinated by Associazione ORIUS, the project has given a fundamental contribution to the definition of a professional profile for re-use centre managers, termed the ‘valorizer’. The skills needed for this profile would further help run re-use operations on a professional basis and to organize innovative training systems aimed, in particular, at social co-operatives, following what is already in place in countries like France and Belgium. Key skills include the ability to identify the potential value of waste and to determine if anything of economic value could be made out of it.

The SIFOR project allowed for more concrete legal support for preparation for re-use activities in the Reggio Emilia Romagna region including:

  • More provisions within the Regional Waste Management Plan
  • A description of waste valorizer profile: This is a “broadband” managerial skill – planning and management of facilities/services for the collection, treatment, disposal of the product/waste – to ensure maximum adherence to the demands of the public and private labor market. However, in the future, the project would also be to implement the profiles of design/manufacturing, pointing to a circular economy where the same resources are used more than once through constant recycling.”

One of the unexpected yet very positive outcomes of the cooperation was the creation of the Italian brand RESTARTER. This is an initiative born out of visits by 11 Italian cooperatives to France, Belgium and Spain, and will be applied networks of cooperatives, both within Italy and beyond, in three key areas:

  • Textiles: One network will focus on textiles developed by social co-ops in the areas of Ferrara, Bologna and Modena. A first centre for textile collection and sorting is being opened and 12 staff have already been recruited, 50% of which are from disadvantaged categories. The target is to be able to treat some 2.000 tons per year.
  • WEEE: Concerning WEEE, a first trade agreement is under signature between the social network RECOSI from Ireland and RESTARTER. The agreement will allow for the recruitment of another 15 persons, most of whom with disadvantaged, to be trained in the field of treatment of electric and electronic waste and ICT equipment
  • FURNITURE: The final network will include those projects developed around the collection and refurbishment of bulky items and furniture in particular. At the moment the network is still in phase of conception since this area is one of the most difficult due to the very low economic value of this material at the moment. Currently, a re-use centre has been conceived with activities of upcycling, trash-design and 3D printing using components from various waste materials.

To make the business viable, RESTARTER will use the “social management” model adopted by ENVIE in France which is based on three specific tools.Finally, to form a social management able to support all of this, 3 French model management tools were adapted in order to act in an integrated way within the network, with common procedures for work and to be able to communicate to the public, with one network voice, a transparent social accounting.

The RESTARTER brand could not have developed without the help and coordination of all the main beneficiaries of the SIFOR project as a lot of thought and details had to be addressed. This included feasibility studies and testing by the University of Modena and Reggio Emiglia for example in effective sanitation for used clothing. This is a necessary condition required by Italian law to start re-use activities in this sector, despite operational protocols not being branched. According to our forecasts, once the process of reuse that we set speeds up, it will allow to recover between 20 and 25% of the volume of the waste collected today in these three sectors within our region

With the prospect of giving the widest possible dissemination in Europe, a video showing Sifor’s social, environmental and training best practices will be available via YouTube.

For further information contact: Barbara Bovelacci – Associazione ORIUS

+39 335 622 2219 – barbara.bovelacci@mailtechne.org