On Saturday, April 22nd, a new edition of Earth Day is being celebrated. Earth Day is an event established by the United Nations Organization back in 1970. Over fifty years ago the world was different, but even then the first visionaries warned governments, companies, and citizens about the risks associated with human activities and their impact on the environment.
Among the pioneers of this movement, we remember Rachel Carson, an American biologist, and scientist who in 1962 published a book – Silent Spring – which became the manifesto of entire generations of environmentalists. Here’s a review of ten Italian startups that, in one way or another, have embraced the cause not for fashion.
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CarboREM designs and builds innovative industrial plants for the treatment of sewage debris and organic waste (i.e. the organic fraction of urban waste and agri-food waste). The company is planning small-scale plants aimed at improving the energy efficiency of the existing plant by lowering the volume of debris and increasing the production of biogas. C700, its innovation, exploits a technology based on a process called hydrothermal conversion (HTC), for the valorization of wet organic waste.
The Tuscan startup Circular Farm is an innovative agricultural company that does not exploit the land and makes soil saving, respect for the environment, regeneration, and sustainability its strong points. Since 2020 it has chosen to transform waste into a resource, in this case, coffee grounds. «The research and studies on the valorization of coffee grounds for agriculture that led to the production of Pleurotus in vertical farms – explained the founder Antonio Di Giovanni – prompted me to take over an abandoned nursery of 1500 square meters in Scandicci and create my own circular urban farm to experiment with new products together with my collaborators».
The Forever Bambù startup, active in the planting of giant bamboo through biodynamic and symbiotic agriculture, for industrial, food, and energy purposes.
Founded by Emanuele Rissone, Mauro Lajo, and Raffaele Mana, the company has 193 hectares of cultivated area in two Italian regions and has received the adhesions of 1200 members from over 7 countries. In all, he has given life to 28 agricultural companies, raising 17.7 million euros in investments.
Launching a business dedicated to sustainability does not only mean acting, but also providing information. The illuminem.com platform, launched by Andrea Gori, aims to act as an aggregator of news, insights, and ideas related to the all-around green world.
“We are a startup which in just a few months has established itself as the world’s leading platform for information on sustainability and which will expand its range of products to offer itself as a data market and skills matching platform both for those who want to offer and for those who want to find I work in the ESG field.”
The startup Ogyre operates at sea and deals with the so-called fishing for litter, or the recovery and recycling of floating waste. “Ogyre was born from our passion for the sea, looking at the waste trapped in the nets and dragged by the currents – Andrea Faldella explained. Ogyre owes its name to the “ocean gyres”, the oceanic currents fundamental to the ecosystem and today is unfortunately known to most because with their movement they are helping to form the so-called plastic islands in the Pacific.” On Earth Day we need to remember that the health of oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers is essential for all of us.
Protecting the environment above all means avoiding waste. Only in Italy, it is estimated that 40% of water is wasted due to problems with the water network.
PipeIn, a Turin startup that develops innovative solutions for the predictive maintenance of pipelines, has recently closed a 725 thousand euro round aimed at increasing hardware and software development. Winner of GoBeyond, we interviewed the CEO Alessandro Minori: “Ours is a pure B2B: we want to turn to utilities, such as A2A and Eni to promote infrastructure maintenance”.
On Earth Day we don’t want to mention only the startups that work in direct contact with nature and the environment. Sense, for example, is a second-hand economy company that refurbishes smartphones. Gianmaria Monteleone, whom we interviewed, told us how he works, using increasingly robotic lines.
Tech junk, which is a well-known theme by now, weighs on the balance: estimates report that just over 1% of smartphones in circulation around the world are recycled correctly. And the rest? They run the serious risk of polluting.
Among the best-known green startups of the Italian ecosystem, Treedom is one of the leading international platforms that allows you to plant a tree remotely and follow its history online. Founded in 2010 in Florence, it has created a large community of people who can do a good deeds thanks to digital technology. In 2021 it closed a capital increase of 10 million euros.
“We have a cylinder-shaped device which, in the water, integrates external sensors and processes the data, compresses them, and transmits the information in real-time via the underwater wireless internet.” That is how Chiara Petrioli explained the service of W-Sense, a Roman startup that deals with the Blue Economy.
Its technology is structured in nodes, which communicate with each other, obtaining information from the marine environment. A gateway sends the information to a terrestrial system, where operators can monitor the situation. “We are present in Norway, but also in Italy, such as in Panarea and La Spezia.”
Founded in 2019, zeroCO2 is a B Corp and was born with the aim of reforesting some areas of the planet following a path that involves local communities. All these are thanks to the support of people who can buy plants on the platform and follow their growth over time. It has also distinguished itself for awareness campaigns, such as when it decided to plant Posidonia underwater, in Golfo Aranci in Sardinia. Andrea Pesce, the CEO, explained that “it is complex, if not impossible, to reforest the oceans on a large scale. But we have to make people understand that we have reached a point of no return.”
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First published in StartupItalia, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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