Eight Guipuzcoan companies present the first Circular Economy projects

The Department of Environment and Hydraulic Works of the Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa has celebrated the First Day of Circular Economy to present the programs of aid and incentives to the circular economy at territorial, regional and European level. Under the slogan "The challenge of creating wealth and employment in a more sustainable Gipuzkoa" the meeting has brought together regional and Basque Government representatives, the Recycling Cluster (GK Recycling) and different economic and social agents, to transfer the objectives of Gipuzkoa in relation to the recycling industry and inform them of the support measures planned to boost the green economy in Gipuzkoa.


The presentation of the Conference was carried out by the Deputy of the Environment, José Ignacio Asensio, who has framed the meeting in the Gipuzkoa Klima 2050 strategy to combat climate change. GK 2050, in line with the European objectives in this area, proposes reducing 40% of emissions, reaching 27% of renewable energy use and improving energy efficiency in the same percentage, all before 2030. They are Challenges that will require significant efforts, but the fight against climate change must also be read as an opportunity to boost the circular economy and develop a green economy that is a source of wealth and employment for Gipuzkoa, Asensio recalled. The head of the organization has stated that throughout these years a very important work has been carried out with selective collection and recycling, going from percentages below 20% at the beginning of the year 2000 to data close to 50%, currently . What was buried a few years ago in landfills are now materials that are recycled, organic matter that is composted and in the very near future also recovered energy. All this represents a great advance in the fight against climate change but, for the deputy of the Environment, it is necessary to take another step: “Gipuzkoa has achieved a great advance with the selective collection, now it is time to make the waste new raw materials to create wealth and employment. " Asensio has ended by calling on Gipuzkoa society and companies in the sector to "join forces and transform waste and climate change into opportunities for wealth creation and employment in a more sustainable Gipuzkoa."


New circular economy projects in Gipuzkoa

Eight companies and entities from Gipuzkoa developed different projects related to the circular economy throughout 2017, which have been presented at the First Circular Economy Conference held in San Sebastián. The content of these covers a varied panorama that goes from the creation of new products and materials, new techniques for waste recycling, to the use of raw materials from waste. All the projects presented were financed by the Department of the Environment of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the collaboration of the Cluster del Recilaje (GK Recycling).


Among the initiatives presented, Jesús Olloquiegui, from Ekolber, presented the project for the creation of biodegradable pots; for his part, Mikel Zubiaguirre, of Ekotrade, announced the results of the study carried out for the use of construction and demolition waste (RCD) as raw material in construction; Marisol, Barral, from Asfaltia presented the results of the research for the use of dust from tires in bituminous mixtures; Amaia Oiarbide, of Ekogras, the work done to take advantage of materials from disposable coffee capsules; Enrique Aymerich, from CEIT, research for the application of circular economy solutions to wastewater; David Zabala, from Ekorec, contributed the results of the project developed with Dr. Cristina Peña, from the UPV, for the transformation of plastic into textile thread; Finally, Pilar Vicente, from Fundación Emaus, presented the project developed by this social entity for the traceability and monitoring of waste in order to best utilize and recycle it.


Subsidies and grants

In the course of the Day, the aid programs that companies can choose for the development and promotion of circular economy projects have been presented. The director of the Environment Department of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, Mónica Pedreira, has explained the strategy of her department and has announced that in 2018 they will allocate € 750,000 to grants directed to initiatives developed by companies, municipalities, associations and non-profit associations . The grants may cover up to 75% of the cost of each project with a maximum amount of € 40,000. In addition to the grants, the Department of the Environment will convene four research grants in associated subjects such as ecodesign, prevention, selective collection and recycling.


The explanation of the aid granted by the Basque Government has been provided by Jesús Losada, Director of Ihobe. The autonomous executive will allocate, in 2018, a total of € 1,825,000 in different areas such as eco-innovation, to develop new products, business models or improve the value chain; eco design, aimed at product redesign or excellent design; circular economy and demonstration projects of SMEs and associates to the Basque Ecodesign Hub, for the development of circular economy alternatives in waste management and the creation of business opportunities with new solutions for recycling and manufacturing products from secondary materials (upcycling ). The grants are aimed at companies and industrial entities, the Basque Science and Technology Network and other public entities. The financing can reach 60% of the cost of the projects.


An important part of aid and financing for the circular economy comes from European funds. Not surprisingly, the Commission approved at the end of 2015 the circular economy package that allocated more than 6,000 million Community funds. The contents of these grants, its main calls and the requirements to present projects have been developed by the specialized consultant Grupo Gisma.