Italy Best Practice in biological circularity: from the collection of bio-waste with compostable food packaging to the transformation into compost.
This positive evolution that places Italy as a Best-Practice has gone hand in hand with the development of separate waste collection, which already began in the mid-1990s with the Ronchi Decree. Milan is an excellence among excellences, the city that collects the most bio-waste per capita in all of Europe with over 110 kg/inhabitant equal to 6 times the EU average and allowing a savings in CO2 emissions of over 9000 T/year.
Italian legislation also requires certified compostable packaging to be collected in the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (FORSU). In fact, compostable food packaging has its ideal end of life together with food residues and kitchen waste to which they give dry matter and from which they draw humidity and microorganisms to facilitate their degradation and disintegration. According to recent BIOREPACK data, in 2022 over 46,600T of compostable packaging was composted out of a total of over 4.6 million T of total bio-waste collection, equal to approximately 1% of the total.
But compost is not the only positive result of organic waste collection. In the integrated cycles of anaerobic digestion, in addition to composting used for agriculture, also biomethane is produced for automotive use and carbon dioxide for food industry applications. Italy currently has the largest and most advanced organic fraction treatment systems because it has been able to create a virtuous circle with a great variety of treatment plants throughout the territory, favoring the growth of local ecosystems and with great advantages for agriculture.
The recent proposal under discussion of the European Commission on the management of packaging waste has completely neglected this excellent experience which works both economically and environmentally, bringing a significant positive effect in terms of fighting against climate change. The Italian Model deserves to become a benchmark and can be spread throughout Europe with significant advantages for the environment and for local communities.