The third edition of the Urban Mining and Circular economy Symposium (SUM), organised by the International Waste Working Group (IWWG – www.iwwg.eu) and promoted by the Lombardy region with the scientific support of the Universities of Padova, Bergamo and several foreign universities, was held from 23rd to 25th May 2016 in the former Monastery of Saint Augustine in Bergamo.
The Symposium was attended by 250 delegates from 35 different countries, who took part in discussions relating to the recovery of materials in the context of a circular economy, to the need to look beyond separate collection, and on the current consumer-based approaches adopted.
The topics of major interest were focused on Landfill Mining, techniques applied in the recovery of reusable materials through the excavation of old landfills, on Urban Mining in the context of a circular economy, on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), and, as is increasingly the case in scientific conferences, on papers relating to Developing Countries that promoted a lively debate. The sessions devoted to food waste were particularly well attended and analysed the implications in terms of generation of emissions such as CO2, and focussed on identifying potential unconventional means of reuse with an aim to producing new biocompatible materials.
A great success was enjoyed by the NetWorking Sessions (NeWS): informal sessions organised to promote discussion and debate on a series of specific topics in the light of a circular economy (quantity-based tariff system for wastes, different strategies adopted throughout the EU, food waste management, etc.) and to create new international working groups.
The high standard of the scientific sessions was accompanied by a captivating programme of social events that included: a guided tour of the upper town in Bergamo that proved highly successful in view of the stunning artistic works of art in the town and the competent guides, a traditional Bergamasco dinner held in a charming restaurant pervaded by the unmistakeable aroma of the tasty local food; and to conclude, an elegant gala dinner that saw the participation of the majority of delegates for a final farewell.
The technical visit to the Montello plant represented a final moment of study: a leading industry in the selection, recovery and recycling of post-consumption plastic packaging and in the treatment, recovery and recycling of organic waste from separate collection.