In the last decade, many researchers have asked themselves whether it is possible to have a different economic model from the so-called linear one, i.e. to move from the linear to the circular economy. The linear economy is based on the concept that the goods we use must follow a life cycle consisting of three phases. The first phase consists of the extraction of raw materials (or production of agricultural products). The second phase is the transformation of the raw material into semi-finished products. The final phase consists of finished products used by consumers and finally eliminated from the economic process as “waste”. In today's world, the linear method of production and consumption has many limitations. It is no longer economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. The answer to the question is the concept of a circular economy. Human demand is growing at a rate that nature's capacity to renew its resources cannot keep up. This paper addresses these aspects and illustrates some examples of a circular economic model applied in Sicily in the citrus waste sector. In fact, Sicily, in the Italian economic system, assumes a role of primary importance with more than 215,000 farms and 1,281,000 hectares cultivated, equal respectively to more than 46% of farms and 55% of national areas. On the island, citrus growing plays a strategic role both in terms of employment and income, contributing in a significant way to the local development of the territories in which it is most widespread (Catania, Syracuse, Palermo, etc..). Citrus fruits produced in Sicily are mainly intended for consumption in the fresh state or processed by the industries into juices. The main byproduct of the citrus industry is citrus pulp, which the enterprise still often consider a today “waste”. The circular economic model in citrus waste has generated significant diseconomies of scale for production with significant income losses for the operators of the chain. Considering the importance of citrus processing in Sicily, this paper analyzed the waste and by-products of the citrus industry and identified technical and organizational solutions to improve the sustainability of the citrus supply chain.
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