Waste recycling industry on the rise in Italy

Sector 'pillar of the national economy'

(ANSA) - Rome, December 16 - The recycling industry continues to grow, a report by Confindustria industrialists association and the Sustainable Development Foundation (FSS) showed Wednesday. Growth sectors include packaging, electric and electronic equipment, organic waste, and used tires, according to the report. This sector has proven to a be a pillar of Italy's economy in spite of a fall in household and industrial waste, with 66% or 7.8 million tons of packaging recycled in 2014 (+2% on the previous year). Paper (80%), steel (74%), aluminum (74%) and glass (70%) also showed significant recycling rates. Last year also saw the recycling of 5.7 tons of organic materials (+9.5% over 2013), 129,000 tons of old tires, and 124,000 tons of textiles (+12%). "In Italy, recycling has managed to hold up against the recession and to remain competitive," said Anselmo Calo from Confindustria's Unire. "We must discourage disposal in landfills, improve the quality of the materials collected, and simplify regulations".
    Recycling in Italy has reached European levels, albeit not evenly across its regions, said FSS chief Edo Ronchi.
    "The regions that have fallen behind must be brought up to speed," he said.
    "We must improve recycling practices and invest in sector innovation and industrialization".
    Italy also imports and exports waste, the report showed.
    In 2014 it imported 5.9 million tons, 77% of which was scrap metal, and exported 3.8 million tons (24% plastic and paper, 60% hazardous waste). Importing is done mostly by firms in northern Italy, which receive 96% of the merchandise, while 40% of the exporting is done by companies in the southern and central regions. At least 99% of the imported waste comes from other European countries, which also receive 77% of Italy's exports. Between 2009 and 2014, the amount of waste imported rose by 60% and the amount exported by 10%, the report said.


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