On December 6, the annual study “L’Italia del Riciclo” (Italy of Recycling), promoted and carried out by the Foundation for Sustainable Development and Fise Unicircular (Unione Imprese Economia Circolare), was presented in Rome. It provided updated data on the development of waste recycling over the last 10 years, chain by chain.
The first figure concerns the total waste produced, which increased from 155 to 164 million tonnes (+6%), but recycling grew much more: from 76 to 108 million tonnes, it recorded +42%.
The case of packaging waste was particularly positive, with a +27% increase in recycling (from 6.7 to 8.5 million tonnes). The recycling rate compared to consumer input increased from 55% to 67%, in line with the European figure and the new targets of 65% to 2025 and 70% to 2030. This puts Italy in third place among the major European economies, after Germany (at 71%) and Spain (at 70%).
“The new package of European directives for waste and the circular economy contains ambitious recycling targets – points out Andrea Fluttero, President of Fise Unicircular. For this to be achieved, we need to address the issue of eco-design, we need to ensure the end of waste qualification after adequate treatment (End of Waste), we need to ensure a greater outlet for recovered materials through a ‘package of measures’ aimed at promoting the development of reuse markets and products made from recycled materials”.
Paper | Released for consumption grew by 814 kt (+20%), recycling grew at the same rate of 690 kt (+21%), from 80% to 81% compared to release for consumption. Total recovery (recycling + energy recovery) increased by 736 kt in ten years, with an increase of one percentage point in the recovery rate compared to consumption.
Glass | Consumption grew by 20% (407 kt), while recycled quantities grew by 38% (524 kt), twice as fast as the consumption of glass packaging. The recycling rate therefore increased from 66% in 2009 to 76.3% in 2018.
Recycled glass packaging | The growth in separate collection of glass, which has increased by 37% over the last ten years, has accelerated dramatically since the second half of 2017, continuing in 2018, so much so that the capacity of authorised treatment plants has become saturated.
Plastics | Released for consumption increased by 200 kt (+10%), recycling grew much more markedly (+45%) with an increase of 322 kt, from 33% to 45% compared to released for consumption. Total recovery (recycling + energy recovery) increased by 616 kt in ten years, with an increase of 21 percentage points in the recovery rate compared to consumption.
Wood | Consumption increased by 942 kt (+45%), recycling grew faster, reaching 718 kt more than in 2009 in 2018, with a percentage change of 59%. The recycling rate increased from 58% to 63% compared to consumption. Overall recovery (recycling + energy recovery) increased by 730 kt in ten years, an increase of 5 percentage points.
Aluminium | Consumer input increased by 7 kt (+11%), recycling grew at a faster rate, reaching in 2018 to recycle 23 kt more than in 2009, with a percentage change of 75%. The recycling rate increased from 51% to 80% compared to consumer input. The overall recovery (recycling + energy recovery) has increased by 24 kt in ten years, an increase of 29% compared to consumption.
Steel | Released for consumption increased by 34 kt (+8%), recycling grew at the same pace, reaching 31 kt recycled in 2018 compared to 2009, with a percentage change of 8%. The recycling rate increased from 78% to 79% compared to consumer input. From 2000 to 2018 more than 6 Mt of steel packaging was recycled, going from 153 kt to 387 kt, or from 25.5% in 2000 to 78.6% in 2018.