Capraia Smart Island - Worlds’ first compostable fish box made from BioFoam

Thursday 17 May 2018
In May 2017 Capraia held a unique event in the history of the island; for two days dozens of leading experts gathered to identify all the possible initiatives to be undertaken in the field of the circular economy.  The numerous and interesting food for thought emerged during the days of work have been scrupulously collected in a publication full of data and objectives.  To allow the maximum diffusion of these "Acts", in addition to printed copies (obviously on recycled paper), a digital version has been created that has been circulating for some weeks.

The project started from an idea of Sofia Mannelli (president of the Bionet Green Chemistry Association ) who set up a working group involving experts from accredited associations, research organizations and service companies: Matteo Monni (Vice President of Itabi - ItalianBiomassAssociation ), Francesco Ferrante (Vice President of the Kyoto Club); Francesco Petracchini (CNR researcher IIA);  Camillo Palermo ( project manager of ASA SpA , Sole Operator of the Integrated Water Service for the Tuscany Coast Water Authority).

The aim is to create a pilot model of circular economy, a "Lighthouse Project" for the Mediterranean Sea.

The goal is an economic system capable of regenerating itself in such a way that, waste becomes a material to be exploited, the energy supply deviates from the fossil towards renewable sources and efficiency, the saving and quality of raw materials are part of the local development strategy. "To this end" - says Sofia Mannelli - it was decided to expand the smart concept going beyond the waste cycle, renewable energy, sustainable mobility and building efficiency.  These aspects are all necessary, but not enough! We also want to work on water, agriculture, fishing and port to be turned into an ecoporto » .

After the successful outcome of the first meeting, a new event will take place in Capraia on 17-18 May, focusing on two specific topics: agriculture (efficient use of water and resources) and waste (separate collection and closure of the cycle).

This will also be an opportunity to make, during an event with the population, the point of the situation that shows an encouraging state of progress after a year of activity. 

Firstly, a series of calls were identified with which to finance initiatives on Capraia or wider.

Among these there is much hope in the approval of the European Project Horizon 2020 called Pearls , an acronym that summarizes the intention to favor the use of local renewable sources for the production of energy in the islands "( PEnetration of Alternative Renewable Energy Local Sources in islands ). The project proposal, presented last April, brought together an excellent partnership (11 partners for 6 European countries) and envisages an Italian leadership with the coordination of the CNR and the precious involvement of ENEL Green Power and the Bionet Green Chemistry Association .

The islands selected to test the activities and disseminate the results will be, in addition to the leader Capraia, Ibiza (Spain), Oland (Sweden) and Mljet (Croatia).

In the meantime, other project activities have already been approved on Capraia, including a structured program coordinated by Enrico Palchetti of the University of Florence. This concerns a close collaboration with local agricultural companies, for the restoration of ancient and precious dry stone walls and stormwater collection and distribution systems.

A particular note of merit for these initiatives lies in the fact that, in the absence of funding, they are all based on the will and voluntary service of a large group of technicians and scientists. These have managed to transmit, from the very beginning, their enthusiasm to the population of the island, which now actively participates in an apparently utopian path.

In practice, there are many close relationships between islanders and accredited subjects operating in the circular economy. Just to name a few, during the next meeting thanks to the help of Chemica Verde Bionet , Soc.Coop .  Green Evolution, which delivers the concepts of bioeconomy all over the world, is represented in Italy by the Dutch Synbra Technology Company, which will donate a special compostator adapted to each season to the "Valle di Portovecchio" farm in Capraia.

In addition, Jan Noordegraaf, CEO of the same Dutch industrial group, will sign an agreement with Coop Mariculture and Capraia search for a supply at controlled prices of cassettes for their biological farmed fish certified at sea, made BioFoam ™, biopolymer espansobiodegradile and compostable that will replace the traditional polystyrene boxes impacting the marine environment and their disposal. A great result to combat the Marine Litter phenomenon.

The propensity of the islanders to welcome innovation is demonstrated at all levels of society with clear manifestations of hospitality while respecting solid traditions. In fact, the fishermen's cooperative intends to offer to the defendants a welcome refreshment, the property (Italian-English) of the enchanting Castle San Giorgio will open the doors of the fifteenth-century manor for a spectacular aperitif.  Lastly, once again this year, the Toremar shipping company will have free speakers and participants in the workshop and will provide a space for the brainstorming that will take place during the round trip crossings.

In addition to becoming a model of circular economy, Capraia is well on its way to spreading healthy values of solidarity and hospitality.