The main similarities and differences between the two concepts of “sustainability” and “circular economy” are discussed. Therefore, for a sustainable management of agri-food value chain, the legislative framework of current regulatory of waste management is presented from the European legislation to the Spanish and Andalusian (relating to transport, waste, packaging or dumping, among others) at the National Congress of the Environment (Conama Local Toledo 2019, 2 to 4 April 2019, Spain).
The terms "Circular Economy" (CE) and "Sustainability" are used interchangeably and often confusingly. Sustainability comes from the French word "soutenir" and originated in the area of forestry. It can be defined as a socio-economic situation in which human activities are carried out in a way that conserves ecosystem functions, maintaining the potential supply of non-renewable goods and services and the infinite perpetuation of all forms of life. Likewise, the circular economy has its origin in industry and is defined as a regenerative system in which waste, inputs, emissions and energy losses are minimized by closing the loops of matter and energy. In this work, the main similarities and differences between the two concepts are presented.
Likewise, our post-industrial society faces global issues caused by the environmental impacts of anthropogenic activities. This leads us to "rethink" our way of social and economic organization, towards a more "circular", sustainable and competitive model. Therefore, in this context, intensive agriculture in southeastern Spain, based mainly on horticulture protected under greenhouses is described and the main inputs used, and inorganic waste generated in the production process (both typology and quantities) is estimated. For a sustainable management of these wastes, it is necessary to contextualize them within the current regulatory framework of waste management, from the European legislation to the Spanish and Andalusian (relating to transport, waste, packaging or dumping, among others).
Therefore, after this need to manage in a sustainable way the inorganic wastes generated in this type of agriculture, the REINWASTE (REmanufacture the food supply chain by testing INNovative solutions for zero inorganic WASTE) project arises, as an opportunity to study the possible technological solutions to implement strategies of circular economy in the horticultural sector of Almería.
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