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

The main types of separately collected waste are:

  • packaging and similar: paper and cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminium and steel cans, wood;
  • durable goods: iron, waste from electrical and electronic appliances (WEEE) and bulky waste;
  • compostable waste: kitchen organic waste and “green” waste from mowing and pruning;
  • other waste: inert materials from small demolitions, used mineral oil and cooking oil, batteries and accumulators, pharmaceuticals and other hazardous municipal waste.

In 2016, separate waste amounted to 1,238.9 tonnes (+1.9% compared to 2016). At Group level, the percentage of separated waste, i.e. the relationship between the quantity of municipal waste collected in separate form and total municipal waste, went from 56.6% in 2016 to 57.7% in 2016. Excluding AcegasApsAmga and Marche Multiservizi the value rises to 58.1%. National average is about 52.5% in 2016 (source: ISPRA). In the 9 provincial capital cities where the service is provided by Hera, in 2016, the level of separate waste collection reached 53.4%, compared with a national average of 44.2% in Italy’s provincial capital cities and 54.0% in the cities of Northern Italy (sources: Legambiente, Ecosistema Urbano 2017) The 2018 target for separate waste collection is: 60.6% (61.0% for Hera Spa, 53.4% for AcegasApsAmga and 66.2% for Marche Multiservizi). In 2021, separate waste collection is expected to reach 70%.

Separate waste collection
The percentage of separate waste collection is calculated including the quantities of waste deriving from road sweeping, and excluding the waste from the shore, and, since 2013, takes into account Emilia-Romagna’s Regional Government Decision 2317/2009. The calculation of separately collected waste also includes similar waste transferred by manufacturers for recovery and separately collected waste from third parties or directly from municipalities. The differing criteria for considering waste as similar-to-municipal laid down by Atersir, the Water and Waste Regulatory Authorities and municipalities may be responsible for quota differences from one area to the next.

The calculation of the Group’s separate waste collection also includes similar-to-municipal waste sent for recovery by manufacturers and separate waste collected from third parties as defined by Regional Authority Decision 2317/2009, implemented in the municipal and local regulations in force. The situation is very diverse in each area and depends on the revisions of the regulations of the individual municipalities. In 2017, this amount of waste was around 132,000 tonnes, excluding AcegasApsAmga and Marche Multiservizi, or 13% of the total amount of separate waste collected, down from 2016 (about 3%); it should be noted that these quantities are subject to different timing and dynamics not directly related to the services present in the territory. At group level, this amount was 11% of total separate waste collected, in line with 2016.

In Emilia-Romagna, Regional Law 16 of 2015 on the Circular Economy set as a minimum objective for 2020 the launch of the Quantity-Based Tariff throughout the region. Quantity-Based Tariffs are one of the economic and financial instruments for the implementation of the Regional Waste Management Plan and makes the payment of environmental hygiene services no longer only linked to the living space and the number of tenants of the house, but also to the quantity of non-separated waste produced. Quantity-based tariffs reward responsible conduct.

As regards local collection, which accounts for the majority of waste, Hera is implementing various systems geared oriented towards the future application of quantity-based tariffs:

  • roadside bins with a control system and user identification (“lid” system);
  • residential collection with bins equipped with tag transponders;
  • collection centres with weighing and user registration systems.

In many municipalities, there are mixed local collection systems (for example, roadside collection for some materials and door-to-door for others; roadside collection in some areas, door-to-door in others): in the following tables the local collection services of each municipality are simply reclassified by their main system.

Main forms of waste collection used in the areas served
number of municipalities served 2015 2016 2017 % 2017 (on the number of residents)
Roadside collection 145 127 106 67%
Roadside collection with special disposal control mechanisms 20 23 32 16%
Mixed system (door-to-door non-separated and roadside separated waste) 13 24 3%
Door to door 24 24 25 14%
Total 189 187 187 100%

In view of the gradual switch to quantity-based charging in Emilia-Romagna, reorganization of the service has started and will continue in the coming years to implement identification and measurement of disposals. In 2017, the main organizational changes led to the extension of the systems with disposal monitoring; in 8 municipalities these systems became fully operational: Castelfranco Emilia, San Cesario sul Panaro, Molinella, Imola and the municipalities of the Santerno Valley. Overall, systems with disposal monitoring are prevalent in 31 municipalities (and 1 in the Triveneto area), mainly in the province of Rimini, but are being extended extending to the province of Bologna (11 municipalities) and Modena (2 municipalities). In the last quarter of 2017 other municipalities, including Ferrara and some municipalities in the Modena province, also reorganized the service with disposal monitoring systems that became fully operational in January 2018 at the same time as introducing quantity-based tariffs; for this reason, the table below includes them as roadside collection. The door-to-door system is stable for 2017 with 16 municipalities (and 3 municipalities in the Triveneto area and 6 in Marche).

The 2017 data show the good results that can be achieved with the roadside collection system with disposal monitoring: 63.8% of separate collection, an encouraging figure not far from 68.7% of municipalities with door-to-door systems, considering that the roadside system without disposal monitoring is at 54.7%.  The Budrio municipality led the way, officially switching to quantity-based charging on 1 January 2016, using a door-to-door-to-door collection system. San Giovanni in Marignano also switched in 2018, using a roadside, electronic lid type bin system for non-separated waste. Bastiglia, Bomporto, Castelfranco Emilia, Ferrara, Monte San Pietro and San Cesario sul Panaro also switched in 2018.  The use of electronic roadside bins to monitor disposal of all waste types was implemented in the municipalities of the Province of Modena; in San Cesario sul Panaro and Castelfranco Emilia the system became fully operational in the first half of the year. Some municipalities in the Imola area (Imola, Casalfiumanese, Borgo Tossignano, Fontanelice and Castel Del Rio) have also began to use electronic roadside bins to monitor disposal of all waste types.

The municipalities of Padua and Trieste that we serve are equally split among roadside collection and roadside collection with disposal monitoring or door-to-door collection. In 2017, door-to-door collection was started for a further 10,000 residents in the municipality of Padua (Guizza/Bassanello), while in Abano Terme, in the same period, service was started for 15,300 residents with quantity-based tariffs (lid with access card). The initiatives led to a sharp increase in the separate waste collection for Abano Terme (about +15% compared to roadside collection, reaching well over 70%). For Padua, the start of door-to-door collection in the Guizza district slightly increased the percentage of separated waste disposal. In 2018, door-to-door will be launched in the Mortise/San Lazzaro district (about 8,500 inhabitants) and “Ecological Saturdays” will be organized, days in which mobile waste collection centres will be set up in several areas of the city, where AcegasApsAmga operators will help residents dispose of the types of waste that cannot be put in the roadside containers used for separate waste collection, such as furniture, appliances, gardening waste, and batteries.

In the areas we serve, 11 municipalities in 2017 have transitioned to the mixed system, with door-to-door collection of the non-separated dry solid waste and roadside collection of recoverable parts, and 1 municipality implemented total door-to-door collection. The municipalities of Pesaro and Urbino use all three collection systems.

When considering the effectiveness of separate waste collection, a useful indicator is the quantity per capita figure, expressed in kg/inhabitant/year, which makes it possible to carry out important analyses on the quantities of waste sent for recovery, both overall and by single supply chain. Per capita separate waste collection at Group level was 378 kg in 2017, up 2.8% over the previous year.

The comparison with the 2016 average national figure (261 kg per capita) remains quite significant compared with that of Northern Italy (328 kg) as found by ISPRA, also due to the high amount of similar-to-municipal waste in the area served by Hera.

Separate waste collection percentage and per capita (2016 data)

Considering Italy’s provincial administrative capitals with populations over 100,000 inhabitants, 5 of the top 10 best-performing Italian cities by per-capita separate waste collection are served by the Hera Group.

Separate waste collection per capita, in kilograms, for municipalities with over 100,000 inhabitants (2016)

On the other hand, considering provincial capitals with populations of over 300,000 inhabitants, Bologna is second in Italy, while it was fourth in 2012. (Source: processing of Legambiente, Ecosistema Urbano 2017 data).

Separate waste collection per capita, in kilograms, for municipalities with over 300,000 inhabitants (2016)

As regards individual territories, considering the per capita figure, the growth of separate waste collection in the Municipality of Ferrara (+11.3%) is particularly significant, as in 2017 it started to upgrade its collection system for quantity-based tariffs; this increase is reinforced by a reduction in non-separated waste (-14.4%). Separate waste collection in the Bologna area due to new projects (+3.3%) is also notable, and includes the project that involved the Bologna’s city centre, also reducing non-separated waste. In the Faenza Imola area, there was a sharp increase in separate waste collection (+7%) due to new projects (introduction of disposal monitoring systems), accompanied by a reduction of the non-separated portion (-7.7%); this growth was however totally “absorbed” by the sharp decrease in the “unmanaged” portion, which, as already mentioned, was subject to trends and factors unrelated to services.

Ferrara also recorded a very strong increase in the percentage of separate waste collection compared to the previous year, reaching 62.1%. In terms of percentage of separate waste collection, 2017 ended with 3 territories over 60%: the Rimini area (60.7%), the Modena area (63.0%) and Ferrara as stated above; the other areas are all above 55%.

As regards the separate collection data relating to the types of material collected, below are the details of the individual types, with the most significant changes in 2017 compared to 2016:

  • a reduction in multi-material collection (-11.1%), which are being phased out in Emilia-Romagna and in the Triveneto region;
  • increase in the inert materials category (+14.9%), wood (+10.2%) and the collection of plastic (+8.3%) and glass (+6.4%), the latter two being the subject of specific communication campaigns in collaboration with the respective Consortia for those types;
  • a decrease in green waste (down 5.3%), whose production is strongly influenced by seasonal trends, and paper/cardboard, the decrease of which is attributable solely to the “unmanaged” component;
  • the “other” item increased as a result of a different calculation of sweeping dirt in the Triveneto area.
Separate waste collection by waste type
Thousands of t 2015 2016 2017
Paper and cardboard 251.7 259.5 258.5
Green waste 252.4 240.3 227.7
Galss 92.3 95.1 101.2
Organic waste 183.7 197.3 204.1
Plastic containers 81.4 85.4 92.9
Mixed materials 64.8 65.8 58.6
Wood 86.7 90.7 99.9
Bulky waste 48.0 50.5 50.8
Inert materials 52.7 59.1 67.9
Iron 27.0 27.9 28.5
WEEE 16.1 16.9 16.9
Other 26.8 26.9 31.9
Total 1,183.7 1,215.8 1,238.9

Separate waste collection by waste type is shown here taking into account the Regional Authority Decision no. 2317/2009.

Separate waste collection per capita (2016)
  Paper Glass Plastic Wood Metals Organic and green waste
Hera Group
78 31 28 30 9 130
Northern Italy 63 39 26 20 7 129
Italy 53 31 20 12 5 108
Best region 841 502 353 294 125 1646

1,3,4 Emilia Romagna, 2, 5,6 Veneto. Source: Ispra

Hera’s separate waste collection levels are due to the widespread coverage of its services and to the regulations for categorization as similar-to-municipal waste, that encourage the recovery of materials. In all cases, except for glass, Hera is above the national average and for green/organic waste, wood, metals and paper it is above the average for northern Italy.

The cost of collecting and disposing of municipal waste is also influenced by the revenues coming from the sale of separately collected and recovered material or the contributions that Conai (the national packaging association) provides to the service manager. In 2016, these revenues and contributions were 30% of the direct costs of separate waste collection (including the cost of treating and recovering waste) as described in the “Tracking waste” report.