Paper recycling targets in four southern regions: only Campania passes the test

18 November 2016

There are four areas of the South that are undergoing a review for waste. Of these, only Campania, in 2013, has exceeded the national average, equal to 42%, with 44% separate waste collection; Sicily still brings up the rear, with only 13.4% separate waste collection, Calabria just reaches 14.7%. Puglia, though better with 22%, is still well below the national average. This is what emerges from a study entitled “Recycling targets 2020: the separate collection of paper and cardboard in the four southern regions of Italy”, carried out by the Foundation for Sustainable Development and Comieco-National Consortium for the Recovery and Recycling of cellulose-based packaging, and presented during the week. With regard to the collection of paper and cardboard, faced with a good national average of 48.4kg per capita collected in the 2013, Campania and Puglia collected about 29kg, while further down was Sicily (16kg) and Calabria (18kg), approximately one-third of the national average. In addition, 93% of municipal waste in Sicily is sent to landfill, 71% in Calabria and the 67% in Puglia, compared to the Italian average of 37%; only Campania cut down on landfill disposal, arriving at 19%. The four southern regions are all suffering from the collection of taxation or rates for waste, especially Sicily (70.8%). “The costs of municipal waste management in these four southern regions,” said President of the Foundation for Sustainable Development, Edo Ronchi, “are higher than those of the northern regions, because in three regions there is still little separate waste collection and where they are doing it, as in Campania, it is because they lack local treatment facilities. The high cost is then compounded by the number of those who evade payments for waste collection, which is still high, and then by an inadequate funds to cover the costs of urban waste management. It would also be interesting to understand why Calabria, which benefited from a total of over 26 million Euros in EU funding from 2007-2013 for projects of RD, and Sicily which received more than 18 million, remain at such low levels “. The study also conducted simulations on the economic benefits for the four regions if they were to achieve a per capita average equal to the northern Italian (61kg/inhabitant) for paper and paperboard collection. Savings (for reduced disposal costs and increased revenues for the sale of the paper) would be more than 69 million Euros per year, broken down as follows: 35.4 million in Campania, 17.5 million in Sicily, and about 8 million each in Calabria and Apulia. “The data from the Comieco Annual Report for 2013 showed some positive signs for the southern regions which, with regard to the collection of paper and cardboard, recorded greater increases (+4.8%) than both the center (+4.6%) and north ( -1.7%); but there are still wide margins for improvement in these regions, if we consider that the potential for growth for the collection of paper materials is one million tonnes, with the richest sources in Campania and Sicily”, said the General Director of Comieco, Carlo Montalbetti. In 2013, through implementation of the national agreement with Anci, Comieco transferred over 25 million Euros to the municipalities in the South. In addition, to support medium-sized municipalities in the development of separate waste collection, Comieco and Anci have established, with support from Ancitel Energy and Environment, a special measure for financing the purchase of equipment for the separate collection of paper and cardboard. There are 75 municipalities in the south that have so far taken advantage of this funding, for a total of about 1.4 million Euros A commitment which was renewed again this year through a new open Tender to all municipalities taking part, which have between 5,000 and 100,000 inhabitants and an average per capita collection of less than 27kg. ” The research also led to some proposals to reverse the situation in the south and support the increase in separate waste collection: these include incentive measures such as technical assistance in drawing up plans or to start door-to-door collection; economic instruments such as eco-taxes, to make landfill disposal less advantageous, the completion of the network of facilities and extending forms of tariff terms as regularly as possible; the fight against tax evasion on waste and insolvency, the monitoring of legality; uniform modes of calculation to evaluate the collection of separate waste; greater responsibility on the part of the producer.