Waste management, Emilia Romagna tries to overtake Europe

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A new regional target: to recycle 70% of paper, metals, plastic, wood, glass and organic waste by 2020.

A kind of Horizon 2020 straight out of Emilia Romagna. In other words: recycling at least 70% of all paper, metals, plastic, wood, glass and organic waste by 2020, and reducing down to 5% the disposal following landfill dumping. These are the goals of the Region of Emilia Romagna, which just passed a new Waste Management Plan.

This target is even higher than the targets set by the European Union: 60% waste sorting by 2025 (65% by 2030) and 10% disposal and landfill dumping by 2030. In Italy, the national percentage is about 40%.

The Plan drafts a management model based on prevention, preparation for reusing, recycling, energy recovery, and finally waste disposal, in line with the European waste hierarchy. Great attention is now given to the first steps of the waste chain, rather than to the last ones (disposal): the main themes are waste reduction, waste collection and industrialisation of recycling. This last aspect in particular will be approached through the promotion of voluntary agreements which support waste sorting in local production cycles: this will sustain growth and consequently the development of local companies working in the field of Green Economy.

The Plan calls for a new approach in the management of waste, in line with the dispositions of the Regional law 16/2015. It will provide an operational tool to reach the above mentioned targets set for 2020. Additional targets are a reduction by 20% – 25% of waste production per capita, 73% of waste sorting and disposal self-sufficiency at a regional scale, through an optimized use of existing facilities.

According to the Plan, one of the key elements for the achievement of these goals is the punctual fee: its principle, “you pay as much as you dump”, aims at supporting virtuous practices.

To summarize, the concrete actions that will allow to accomplish the Plan’s goals are punctual fees, prospective and partially already approved sector agreements, and the incentivisation fund established by the Regional Law 26/2015. In addition to that there are specific actions done on the Municipality of Bologna and the Province of Reggio Emilia, both of which were already co-financed by the Region through its environmental action plan. The goal for the Region Emilia Romagna is to have only three landfill sites, which should mainly be used for special waste, and to stop delivering unsorted urban waste to two of the eight incineration plants.

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