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The lesson learnt, from the Dea Minerva project: transforming waste into school resources generating wealth for the entire community.

Being a mayor these days is already a sort of war in itself. If then, the mayor in question decides to carry out a project as interesting as ambitious, one can well imagine how such “war” risks becoming a carnage.

Germano Caroli, mayor of Savignano sul Panaro in the province of Modena, is a determined person.

Since 2012 he has been working, involving partners and sponsors, to grow the Dea Minerva Project even if, as it has been happening for a couple of years now, the price of waste continues to be reduced with a tonne of PET which is currently around one hundred euros. What can be done then? Caroli makes a decision that seems diametrically opposed to the political logic: neglecting the individual citizen.

“In the logic of a similar project, the redistribution of resources must necessarily neglect the individual: given the value of the waste – 100 euros for a tonne of PET – splitting the revenues for each citizen or individual family would mean negligible figures, on the order of about ten cents per person.”


So where does the money produced by this waste collection go? With a rare political vision of these times, Caroli redirects the earnings of the project to the Instituto Comprensivo di Savignano (Comprehensive Institute of Savignano). Thus, in addition to the economic value of the contribution, a strong educational value is created for the circular economy. Everyone’s commitment takes the form of an investment in the school and education of future generations.

“If the return on the individual is negligible, the discourse changes when we think about the whole community: it is the union that makes the strength and this is the only way not to disperse the return of virtuous behavior of the citizens.”


In this way Caroli, year after year, is capable of increasing the revenues of the Dea Minerva Project. This year, from 338 tons of waste, 19,100 euros were obtained, with an overall revenue of 73,500 euros since 2012: a very significant result. Considering then the educational return on the virtuous behavior of future generations, it is an exceptional result. A lesson that mixes economy, politics, education and ecology in the hope that other mayors take the same path.

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