Secondary Raw Material

Secondary raw material (PSM) is a material resulting from a recovery process that becomes an input in a new production. Learn about the differences between MPS, by-products and waste and the advantages that MPS offer companies in terms of sustainability and cost reduction.

Secondary Raw Material (SRM) definition

Infographic stating, "Second Raw Material is a material, resulting from a recovery process, that can be reused within manufacturing processes, offering economic and environmental benefits."

The term Secondary Raw Materials (SRM) is used to identify that material, resulting from a recovery process, which becomes an input or new ‘raw’ material in the same or different new production from which it was generated.

Secondary raw material is therefore derived from waste which, unlike other materials, can be recovered, bringing great benefits to companies, both economic and environmental. This makes it possible to transform industrial production using virgin material into a production model that reflects the principles of the Circular Economy and the European Directive 2008/98/EC.

Difference between Secondary Raw Materials and By-products

The main difference between Secondary Raw Materials and By-products concerns the fact that the former undergo recovery treatment in order to be reused, while the latter are not involved in a treatment process.

In fact, Secondary Raw Materials can undergo one or more recovery processes that enable the waste material to acquire physical and chemical characteristics to perform the same function as a virgin raw material (End of Waste).

However, it is necessary to point out that both MPS and by-products are derived from waste from one or more industrial manufacturing processes.

If you’re not familiar with the By-products, read Sfridoo’s dedicated guide.

Difference between Secondary Raw Materials and Waste

Talking about Secondary Raw Materials and Waste can be confusing and in fact they are not the same thing, let’s see why.

Secondary Raw Materials, as opposed to waste, are production residues that, at the end of a treatment process, obtain certain features (listed in the reference legislation) that allow their use within new company production processes.

While Waste, referring to items that one intends to discard or has an obligation to discard, remains as such unless subjected to recovery processes and treatments that can transform them into new resources

Waste can have different destinations e.g. it can be stored, sent to landfill, undergo waste-to-energy processes or incineration.

The list of waste treatments is extensive (about forty treatments) and varies according to the type of waste and its origin.

If you are interested in learning more about Industrial Waste, read Sfridoo’s complete guide.

Differences between MPS and Virgin Raw Material

In this case, the difference follows a different line of reasoning, as both elements serve the same function but come from two different origins.

The virgin raw material, derived from a extraction process and thus a sourcing of natural resources, from the earth, of the material to be used within one or more industrial processes.

MPS, unlike virgin raw material, is a material resulting from a process of processing and recovery of waste, which does not involve the extraction of new material, but a reuse of it.

This has a substantial cost, energy and environmental impact.

Why Secondary Raw Materials (MPS) are important

Guida Materia Second

Secondary raw materials are important because they reduce the need for companies to use raw materials from environmentally harmful extraction processes.

Indeed, in an economic system where the demand for products is ever increasing, the difficulty is to succeed in preserving the planet’s natural resources by seeking alternative methods to recover and reuse materials that have already been extracted.

The use of MPS becomes strategic in a system where raw materials are scarce and their destruction among nations is unbalanced, creating a socio-political and economic divide between importing and exporting countries.

One of the most virtuous ways to improve this situation is precisely to focus on the residues that companies produce and to understand how to make the most of them in order to create supply chains and networks of industrial symbiosis with a very low impact.

In order to learn more about Industrial Symbiosis, you can reading Sfridoo’s up-to-date guide.

Secondary Raw Materials statistics

Below are some figures related directly and indirectly to mps that give an insight into the importance of these materials.

Here are the estimates:

  • According to the report ‘L’Italia del Riciclo 2021,’ Italy recycled 120 million tonnes of waste, which corresponds to approximately 65% of the total. This figure positions Italy as the second-highest country in Europe for the percentage of municipal waste recycled, following Germany, and the second-highest, after Poland, for the recycling of industrial waste.
  • According to Agenzia Giornalistica Italia (AGI), there was a 117% increase in virgin raw material prices during 2021.
  • According to the Ref Research Laboratory, disposal costs increased by 40 per cent in the two years between 2019 and 2021. This increase had a significant impact especially in the manufacturing sector. In monetary value terms, this translates into a cost increase of EUR 1.3 billion.

Italian regulations

The current reference legislation for Secondary Raw Materials is legislative decree number 152 of 2006, also known as the Consolidated Environmental Act (TUA).

In fact, the management of MPS had already been introduced into Italian law by the Ronchi Decree, Legislative Decree 22/97.

According to the current legislation, specifically Article 184-ter, a waste ceases to be a waste when, after undergoing a recovery process, the material under consideration meets specific criteria.

There are four conditions:

  • the substance or object is intended to be used for specific purposes;
  • there is a market, or demand, for that substance or object;
  • the substance or object meets the technical requirements for the specific purpose and complies with existing regulations and standards applicable to products;
  • the use of the substance or object will not lead to overall negative impacts on the environment or human health.

However, Decree 152/06 is not the only legal text regulating MPS.

Other normative texts

There are two other texts that regulate the areas of reference for this type of material:

  • Ex Art. 208 and Ex Art. 214/216 are the two regulatory texts that regulate the authorisation and communication for waste management facilities, including those carrying out material recovery activities under a simplified procedure. The recovery activity must be renewed every five years, with a ninety-day investigation period.
  • I Decreti Ministeriali 05.02.1998, n. 161/2002, n. 269/2005, circ 5205/05 sono fondamentali per la normativa tecnica che specifica le procedure di recupero, soprattutto per i rifiuti pericolosi, da poter ammettere nelle procedure semplificate. Questi decreti identificano anche l’importanza dell’individuazione dei rifiuti pericolosi provenienti da navi, dal settore edilizione e stradale che possono essere recuperati.
  • Ministerial Decrees 05.02.1998, No. 161/2002, No. 269/2005, Circ 5205/05 are fundamental for the technical regulations specifying the recovery procedures, especially for dangerous waste, to be admitted in simplified procedures. These decrees also identify the importance of identifying hazardous waste from ships, the construction and road sector that can be recovered.


All those residues that after undergoing one or more recovery processes are re-introduced as input into a new industrial process are considered MPS.

Consequently, every material that is recovered potentially has its own Secondary Raw Material.

There are MPSs for glass, plastic, aluminium, paper, metals and many other categories of materials.

At a general level, there are two major distinctions of Secondary Raw Materials:

  • those arising from the recovery of municipal waste, e.g. waste from separate collection;
  • those arising from the recovery of industrial (or special) waste, e.g. production waste from companies’ manufacturing processes;
Pulsante: valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali

Turn your company waste into value

Sfridoo® empowers you to harness the residual value of your waste, enabling you to achieve economic, fiscal, and environmental benefits. Embrace the principles of the Circular Economy and collaborate with other companies in our network to maximize your gains.

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Infographic stating, "The benefits of MPS: Saving money, Reducing costs for businesses, Less waste produced, Promoting circular models, Enhancing the value of resources used, Responding to consumer needs, Improving reputation."

The advantages that MPS have are several.

There are benefits related to the economic value of these materials, the impact they generate within production systems, and environmental aspects.

Here are the main advantages:

  • Il risparmio economico per le aziende che producono rifiuti è notevole. Quando questi rifiuti non vengono trattati come Mps (materie prime secondarie), diventano un costo oneroso per l’azienda in fase di smaltimento.
  • The economic savings for companies that produce waste are considerable. When this waste is not treated as MPS (secondary raw materials), it becomes an expensive cost for the company during disposal.
  • Decrease in the percentage of waste going to incineration, landfill or other types of treatment.
  • Reducing the negative impact of waste on the environment and its ecosystems.
  • Increased adoption of circular models within companies and industrial systems.
  • Creation of links and networks for the development of Industrial Symbiosis systems between companies.
  • Maximum usage of the value of the material, which, thanks to its recovery, does not dissipate its potential.
  • Increasing the percentage of recycled material in the products companies produce.
  • Meeting the new needs of consumers, who are increasingly attentive and eager to buy products with sustainable characteristics.
  • Improved corporate reputation in terms of environmental sustainability, beneficial for creating new collaborations with customers and partners and improving the relationship with stakeholders.
  • Reduction of virgin raw materials extracted directly from the earth and consequently a lower impact of extraction processes.
  • Increased opportunities for commodity importing countries to become more independent through the use of MPS.

Critical issues and barriers for the development of the MPS market

Secondary Raw Materials offer numerous advantages to companies, however, there are also critical aspects that limit their diffusion and use.

High barriers to entry are:

  • Lack of a common European standard, which leads to a lower dissemination of MPS and makes it difficult to identify production waste recovery processes.
  • Difficulties in marketing MPS within the EU, due to the great heterogeneity of rules and standards.
  • Lack of public policies encouraging the use of recycled materials in products and infrastructure.
  • Impurity of recycling processes that often contain chemical agents whose residues could settle within the recycled material.

Sfridoo Case Study

An interesting case study relates directly to the Sfridoo team, which carried out an intervention focused on the recovery of discarded poly-bonded plastics.

In collaboration with a major Italian company specialising in the production of thermoplastic and organic synthesis granules for the sports sector, Sfridoo was able to exploit this residue, using it for the production of plasters used in playing fields.

Examples of Secondary Raw Materials

According to the National Register of Environmental Managers, there are several examples of MPS:

  • Glass and non-dispersible glass residues
  • Paper, cardboard and paper products
  • Metals, non-dispersible metal alloys, metals from smelting, casting and refining
  • Plastic
  • Ceramics and aggregates
  • Fabrics from tanning and leather processing
  • Wood and cork
  • Rubber and rubber
  • Residues from the agro-food industry
  • Sludge and dust
  • Inorganic waste that may contain metals or organic matter
  • MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) and non-hazardous industrial waste residues for RDF (Waste Derived Fuel) production
  • Residues recoverable by anaerobic processes
  • Compostable waste
  • Waste from pyrolysis and gasification processes
  • Waste from fertiliser production

The categories mentioned above are part of the list of wastes, which can be recovered and transformed into Secondary Raw Materials. It is important to specify that these categories represent macro-sets, and each entry includes several sub-categories and types of recovery.

Pulsante: valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali

Turn your company waste into value

Sfridoo® empowers you to harness the residual value of your waste, enabling you to achieve economic, fiscal, and environmental benefits. Embrace the principles of the Circular Economy and collaborate with other companies in our network to maximize your gains.

enhance value now