This a contribution by my good friend David Newman - thanks a lot David this is realy interesting
Last week the government institute for the environment in Italy, called ISPRA, published its annual Waste Report, using data from 2008.
There are some really interesting developments I wanted to share with your readers.
Firstly, for the first time in living memory, the amount of total MSW produced has decreased. Only a small total decline, some 0,2%, but in per capita terms a significant 2%. This is actually the third year that per capita waste production declines, while being the first year that this reduction has had an impact on the overall national figures.
The decline is evidently due to a reduction in consumption, that's a no-brainer. But we should take into account the last three years' per capita decline and part of the reason for this may lie in the prevention and reduction policies being enacted in some regions.
Secondly, while the amount of waste produced declines, the amount collected separately for material recovery increases again; an overall level of 30,6% of all Italian MSW in now collected separately and sent to reovery. This is indeed a substantial result; regions in northern Italy have attained levels over 50%, including densely populated industral regions like Lombardy, Piemonte, Veneto. Once again the south of Italy shows how under-developed it is, with overall recovery levels of 15% circa. In between sit the central regions like Tuscany, Marche, Umbria, Abruzzo.
Note the great strides ahead made by the Region of Sardegna where overall recycling levels have achieved nearly 40%.
Thirdly, where the recovery levels are highest is where the regions have enacted policies of separate collection of organic household waste. The 2008 figures show an increase in organic waste collection on 2007 of over 14%, to circa 3.340.000 tons. Organic waste now accounts for 34% of all the recycled waste collected, the largest single fraction, and with paper and cardboard, over 60% of all recovered waste.
This means that Italy is rapidly heading towards the goals of the Landfill Directive in terms of reducing organic waste to landfill.
Indeed the other good news in that the number of landfills has declined again, while the number of composting plants increased to 229.
Landfills still account for 44% of all our MSW disposal (about 32.000.000 tons) though in continuous decline; composting separate waste 7%; MBT 22% (a small reduction on 2007) and incineration still at 11%. The rest is recycled.
The report contains a load of informaion regarding the economics of the waste industry in Italy, as well as a comparison with EU countries.
You can obtain this very detailed and well presented report in Italian from the website www.atiaiswa.it in the next few days or from the ISPRA website now www.isprambiente.it