separate waste collection
in an area with 3.3 million
of recovered waste
the share of separate waste
collected, in favour of a circular
tons of recycled plastic
produced by Aliplast

Disposal of municipal waste in Italy and Europe and comparison with Hera

National and EU regulations define principles and priorities for waste management, from minimizing waste at source to material recovery, energy recovery and, only as last resort, disposal in landfills.

Over the years, the Hera Group has worked in this direction, as shown by the comparison between 2002 data and those of the last three years. In particular, the results were successful in terms of reduction of material sent to landfill, for which a further reduction was also posted in 2017 (-0.4% percentage points compared to 2016). This is consistent with the Group’s objectives, which, in line with national and European regulations and the plans of the relevant authorities, envisage a reduction in the use of landfills and an increase in separate waste collection. In 2017, the percentage of municipal waste disposed of in landfills after pre-treatment was 7%, compared with the 2016 Italian average of 28%, (source: Eurostat), therefore below the 2035 goal set by the December 2017 agreement on the revisions to the directives envisaged for in the circular economy package. The use of landfills was particularly low in the areas served in Emilia-Romagna, reaching 5.2% in 2017. In the territories served in the Marche Region, there was also a reduction in 2017 (from 40.7% in 2016 to 34.9% in 2017), while in Triveneto Hera again used no landfills for the disposal of solid urban waste in 2017

Disposal of munucipalities waste in Italy and Europe and commparison with Hera

At European level (source: Eurostat), the trend of reducing the use of landfills as a form of municipal waste disposal is also continuing, even if there are significant differences among the countries: in the EU-28 the figure for 2016 was 25% (26% in 2015). Landfills are still the main way of treating waste in Italy: 28% of disposed municipal waste in 2016 was put into landfills compared to 20% sent for waste-to-energy treatment: both values show a reduction of 2 percentage points compared to the previous year, in favour of recycling/composting.

Landfills continue to be the primary treatment method in 11 European countries, with peaks of up to 92% in Malta and 82% in Greece. In Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, and Germany, landfill is used for around 1% and waste-to-energy varies from 32% to 50%, with the remainder being sent for recycling. Hera is in line with these countries in terms of recycling with further improvements planned for the coming years.

Urban waste collected by Hera by destination

Urban waste collected by Hera by destination

Municipal waste: A three-speed Europe and Hera’s area of operation is among the most virtuous (2016)
Country Landfill Waste to energy Recycling/Composting
Countries with landfill use lower than the European average
Sweden 1% 50% 49%
Belgium 1% 45% 54%
Danmark 1% 51% 48%
Netherlands 1% 46% 53%
Germany 1% 32% 66%
Austria 3% 38% 59%
Finland 3% 55% 42%
Hera Group
7% 41% 53%
Estonia 11% 53% 31%
Luxembourg 17% 34% 48%
France 22% 36% 42%
Great Britain 23% 32% 45%
Slovenia* 24% 18% 58%
European Union (28 countries) 25% 27% 47%
Countries with landfill less than 50% but higher than the European average
Italy 28% 20% 51%
Lithuania 31% 18% 50%
Polond 37% 19% 44%
Ireland*** 42% 18% 40%
Portugal** 49% 21% 30%
Countries with landfill greater than or equal to 50%
Czech Republic 50% 16% 34%
Hungary 51% 15% 35%
Spain 57% 14% 30%
Bulgaria 64% 4% 32%
Slovakia 66% 11% 23%
Latvia 72% 0% 28%
Croatia 78% 0% 21%
Cyprus 81% 0% 19%
Romania* 82% 3% 15%
Greece 82% 1% 17%
Malta 92% 0% 8%

*2015 data, **2014 data, ***2013 data. Source: Eurostat

Disposal of municipal waste in Europe: the correlation between recycling/composing and energy recovery. Hera among the European best practices
Source: Eurostat