The new service for the roadside collection of vegetable oils, carried out using new aesthetically pleasing bins specially designed to contain residual domestic cooking oil, was launched on a trial basis at the start of 2014. This new initiative forms part of a broader Hera project, and the only one of its kind in Italy in terms of the service provided and its geographical extension, aimed at the spread of this type of collection which until 2013 was only carried out via the Group’s 140 waste collection centres.
At the end of 2017 there were around 380 roadside bins located in 70 municipalities in the Emilia-Romagna area, 10 more than in 2016, serving an overall customer base of over 1 million residents. The use of these roadside bins made it possible to collect over 410 tonnes of cooking oil in 2017, in addition to the 390 tonnes collected at the waste collection centres. As such, all in all Hera recovered around 800 tonnes of vegetable oil in 2017. This quantity of recovered oil will enable us to generate electricity for around 4000 inhabitants or produce biodiesel to use as fuel in heating systems, or as fuel for motor vehicles, mixed with diesel fuel or on its own, helping to reduce greenhouse gases since its emissions are over 80% lower than those of fossil oil-based fuels – the result of a renewable energy source replacing fossil fuels.
The LIFE Identis WEEE project, supported by the EU LIFE fund, aims to prove the traceability of Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and increase the collection of small appliances such as chargers, mobile phones, televisions, electronic toys, and electronic lamps. This collection is especially difficult with traditional systems. The project sees Hera Spa as parent company and was created in collaboration with two partners: the Italian Ecolight consortium and the Spanish consortium Ecolum.
The project was completed with the “Mobile” prototype (a mobile station with an operator) that can collect all types of WEEE, providing a scheduled service to users even in areas that are not close to waste collection centres (currently in operation in the city centre of Bologna) and ensuring the traceability of the waste disposed of. These machines are an integral part in a data collection system (DPC) that can provide traceability reports and manage the identification and statistical data on users and the alert messages sent by prototypes in the area served by Hera. The project, funded by the European Community, ended in 2015.
In addition to the Mobile prototype, 36 containers for disposal of small household appliances are located in the area served by Hera, mainly in shopping centres, where approximately 37,500 items have been disposed of, which allowed about 50 tonnes of WEEE and 600 kg of batteries to be “properly treated”. The constant increase of waste received by the Mobile prototype is particularly relevant, as over 4000 items per year were discarded in it in 2017.
During 2017, the collection and recovery of used toner cartridges continued, carried out by Ecorecuperi, which was awarded the tender to provide this service, in October 2016. In 2017, using “Ecobox” containers distributed to public users such as schools and municipal offices, approximately 200 tonnes of used cartridges were collected that were actually provided to the reuse market (regenerated toner cartridges for printers).