Renewable raw materials: what they are and how they will change production cycles
The importance of renewable raw materials in Italian industry
Renewable raw materials are those that by their intrinsic nature regenerate. Renewable raw materials of plant or animal origin include those from forestry, agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing. Including biomass energy sources. Other renewable energy sources are inorganic: solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric.
Renewable raw materials are widely used in the food industry, wood, paper. But other manufacturing sectors also aim to replace non-renewable raw materials in their production cycles with renewable and circular ones.
The main renewable raw materials and their applications
Among the most used renewable raw materials in Italy, agro-food materials are also used in leather, fertilisers, cosmetics, etc.
While wood has applications in furniture, construction, paper and energy production from biomass. In this context, we would like to point out the recent Position Paper of the Forestry Sector Table on Forest Management and Sustainable Energy Uses of Forest Biomass, produced by a temporary working group of universities, research institutes, local authorities and economic associations coordinated by AIEL (Italian Association of Agroforestry Energy). The objective is to propose a shared vision among the players in the forestry supply chain, of the cornerstones and models to be adopted for the correct and sustainable use of forest biomass, in a logic of cascading use
The impact of renewable raw materials on future production cycles
The AIEL Position Paper explains what would be the economic impact of an increase in the Italian forest harvest rate, which is currently much lower than the European average (Italy between 18.4% and 37.4% annual increase, Europe 73%). The low harvest rate leads to a high dependence on foreign countries for the supply of wood and timber for industry as well as for the import of firewood, pellets and wood chips.
Increased sustainable forest management would create jobs in forest production, in primary processing for the creation of raw and semi-finished materials for structural, craft and energy purposes. Furthermore, the Italian agroforestry sector could reduce the import of natural gas by more than ten billion cubic metres per year.