CAPRI, ITALY / 15-16-17 MAY 2024

Hot topics of SUM2024

Thanks to invaluable insights from our Scientific Committees, this edition of SUM is set to provide a unique emphasis on the pressing issues within the Circular Economy domain, highlighting topics that are currently highly relevant in the field.
In light of this, we're delighted to re-open the Call for Papers and extend the deadline for submitting contributions addressing the following hot topics, as well as all the previously listed subjects, no later than 2nd April 2024.
CRM - Critical Raw Materials 
by Prof. Maria Cristina Lavagnolo, University of Padova (IT)

The European Parliament has definitively approved the "Critical Raw Materials Act", the new regulation on critical raw materials (CRM-Critical Raw Materials), on which the industries producing electrical and electronic equipment and the renewable energy sector depend above all. Today, Europe is already heavily dependent on non-EU countries for the supply of these materials and, with the aim of decarbonisation by 2050, it needs new strategies to support a decidedly strategic sector for the European industrial future.
The new European legislation on critical raw materials aims to strengthen the EU's capabilities along all stages of the value chain and to increase national resilience by reducing dependencies and promoting the sustainability and circularity of the strategic supply chain of raw materials. Since at least 25% of the annual consumption of critical raw materials will have to be satisfied by internal recycling, the regenerative approach of the circular economy will be even more crucial in supporting the new regulation. 
During the SUM a specific session will be devoted to discuss the new regulation and understand how effective it can be in guiding us towards independence from non-EU countries in the CRM supply.

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Biodiversity and Circular Economy 
by Prof. Maria Cristina Lavagnolo, University of Padova (IT)

The loss of biodiversity is one of the most dramatic consequences of climate change and human impact. For several years, the importance of biodiversity for our planet has been underestimated, especially for its economic relevance on our extractive economies. Biodiversity provides several ecosystem services essential for human life such as food, materials, clean water, climate regulation, and many others. Therefore, a relationship of impact and/or dependency between biodiversity and economic activities exists. The circular economy, aiming to reduce the exploitation of non-renewable resources and the ever-increasing production of waste, can play a crucial role in reducing negative impacts on the environment and be one of the main drivers for the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems. Researchers of the National Biodiversity Future Center will discuss in a specific session, the current practices for evaluating the impacts of business activities on biodiversity and/or ecosystem services and to explore the economic valuation methods for valuing ecosystem services in the framework of waste management.

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End-of-life vehicles 
by Prof. Maria Cristina Lavagnolo, University of Padova (IT)

"Fluff" are the so-called light residues from vehicle scrapping and include seals, tyres, fabrics, plastics, tire fragments coming from the grinding of vehicles after the separation of the metal components and the metals found to be indivisible from the plastic parts of the vehicle.
Manufacturers, together with their collection centres, must achieve the objective of reusing and recovering 95% of the average weight per vehicle per year, with a reuse and recycling percentage of 85%, therefore allocating only 5% to disposal %. The real challenge today is the recovery of car fluff which is worth 400,000 tonnes of non-metallic waste. The SUM is open to discuss new visions and new technologies to address a problem that is destined to become even more critical.

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End of Waste
by Prof. Maria Cristina Lavagnolo and Dr. Giovanni Beggio, University of Padova (IT)

The definition of the "End of Waste" status for recycled materials is gaining prominence in discussions surrounding the circular economy. It promotes resource efficiency by encouraging recycling and reusing materials, thereby reducing waste generation and conserving natural resources. Economically, it creates new opportunities through the development of markets for recycled materials and products, fostering innovation and job creation. Moreover, adherence to "End of Waste" criteria helps businesses comply with regulations and meet consumer demand for sustainable products. 
However, developing "End of Waste" criteria presents several challenges encompassing regulatory, technical, and market aspects. Among these challenges is the need to harmonize regulations across jurisdictions while addressing technical complexities in defining performance and environmental requirements and criteria based on risk assessment and intended applications.
SUM 2024 strongly welcomes works addressing these challenges, including ongoing research to propose/refine criteria and a multi-stakeholder approach involving collaboration between governments, industry and academia. 

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Spent Electric Vehicles Rechargeable Batteries
by Prof. Kaimin Shih, The University of Hong Kong (HK)

Properly managing the spent electric vehicle (EV) rechargeable batteries is a new challenge and, at the same time, a new opportunity to achieve the urban mining goal and realize the circular economy concept. With more than 30 million EVs on the road in 2023, the industry and scientists are now intensively seeking new battery recycling methods. Thousands of cylindrical cells with components sourced from around the world transform lithium and electrons into energy to propel a vehicle hundreds of kilometres, again and again, without tailpipe emissions. But when the battery comes to the end of its life, its green benefits fade. If it ends up in a landfill, its cells can release problematic toxins, including hazardous metals. Battery recycling would not only prevent pollution and waste generation but also help boost the growth of the industry and the economy by stabilizing the supplies of key battery metals.
SUM2024 welcomes the discussion about spent EV rechargeable batteries, and the topics can be, but are not limited to, the policy, management, technology advancements, and case analyses of the spent EV rechargeable battery issues.  

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Does the Economy control the Circular Economy?
by Prof. Rainer Stegmann, Hamburg University of Technology (DE)

Waste management focuses on Circular Economy to maximize material recovery by minimizing residual waste production. For main waste components recycling procedures are practiced with partly high material recovery rates. The recycling success depends on several factors where one of the main questions regards the economics: in how far do cost aspects hinder or promote material recovery and reuse.
International experts will present and discuss this essential question at SUM 2024. 

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