The European Directive 2008/98/EC on waste, transposed into Italian Law by Legislative Decree 205/2010, defines the following hierarchy for the prevention and management of waste:
- preparation for reuse;
- other types of recovery, such as energy recovery;
Waste prevention is also confirmed as a priority action by the European package on the circular economy, referenced in one of the case studies in this chapter, which, among other things, includes a target for preventing food waste, for which the agreement reached by the three-way meeting held in December 2017 set indicative targets of 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, compared to the quantity generated in 2014.
Emilia-Romagna’s Regional Law 16/2015 on “Provisions in support of the circular economy, the reduction of the production of urban waste, the reuse of end-of-life goods, separate collection and amendments to Regional Law N. 31 of 19 August 1996″ also includes provisions to support waste prevention, including the possibility to grant, in the framework of the regulation on the fees for waste management services, incentives for companies that implement actions aimed at waste prevention.
During 2017, although it operates as waste management manager, and therefore in full respect of the prerogatives of those responsible for waste planning, Hera has developed and participated in numerous initiatives aimed at encouraging waste prevention. This commitment is in line with the new European, national and regional regulations which, as seen above, introduce prevention and reuse targets as an integral part of integrated waste management. These initiatives have enabled us to prevent the production of around 10,000 tonnes of waste, equivalent to the annual output of about 16,300 people.
Among the most significant initiatives there are “Cambia il finale” (Change the ending), “FarmacoAmico” (Medicine friend), Cibo amico, Hera2O and Urban Springs which are covered by special in-depth sections of this report (case histories). The most significant initiatives included:
Cambia il Finale, (Change the outcome), the project linked to the specific memorandum of understanding between Atersir and Hera on the management of bulky waste, developed in collaboration with Last Minute Market, provides a way to intercept all objects in good condition, otherwise destined for bulky waste collection, and re-use them. The goods can be donated by residents to a circuit of non-profit organizations in Emilia-Romagna that collect bulky goods at their headquarters or door-to-door, using them for second-hand markets, using them in their offices or donating them to people in need. The collection of goods carried out by non-profit organizations is promoted through all of Hera Group’s communication tools, in particular through call centre operators, who offer users the possibility of donating bulky objects in good condition if they intend to dispose of them.
The initiative promotes good habits related to reuse and generates positive social effects thanks to the activities of the charitable associations involved, in line with Hera Group’s social responsibility and environmental protection principles. It also responds to recent developments in environmental legislation, which aim to establish a management model based on the concepts of prevention and reuse.
At the end of 2017, 20 participating non-profit organizations were distributed throughout the Emilia-Romagna region served by Hera, ensuring coverage of all its main cities. In 2017, the associations received over 9500 phone calls from residents willing to donate bulky goods and over 6700 collection runs were carried out, for a total of about 134,500 items and about 866 tonnes collected. The majority of the goods donated were sent off to be reused, with an average percentage close to 70%: from January to December 2017, and the project as a whole therefore made it possible to avoid a total of about 580,000 tonnes of bulky waste, resulting in lower charges for waste collection and great savings for the environment.
“Second Life”, is a reuse area launched in September 2011 together with the Municipality of Bologna, in the immediate vicinity of a separate waste collection centre. In 2017, the facility was operated by the social cooperative “Open Group”. During the year, Second Life has received almost 95,000 objects, (up over 40% compared to 2016), putting almost all of them back into circulation. The most-exchanged items are clothes (44% of incoming items and 42% of outgoing items) and plates, cake-pans, dishes in general (13% of incoming items and 13% of outgoing items).
Trashware is a project developed by the S.P.R.I.Te. student association in partnership with the Cesena municipality, Hera and the Campus of the University of Cesena, the project is a reference point in the area for those that wish to get rid of old but functioning computer equipment and for all organizations that need reconditioned computers for basic computer activities. The “Trashware” project met its 6th-year goal and will continue its activity in 2018. During 2017, initiatives and information points were promoted in the occasion of events and holidays and we strengthened our presence on the web. Since the beginning of the project, over 3000 people have contacted us to donate equipment. Over 1,100 reconditioned PCs have been given to schools and associations since the project started in 2011; with over 130 of them delivered during 2017.
“Toner Eco-boxes”, are containers for sending used toner cartridges for recycling, mainly distributed in schools in the areas served by the Hera Group. Eco-box is a service for the separate collection, transportation and reuse/recovery of non-hazardous special waste, known as “used electronic printing system consumables”, which has been active for several years. The initiative is carried out in association with Ecorecuperi, a Solarolo (Ravenna)-based company. In 2017, more than 200 tonnes of toner and cartridges were recovered.
Hera’s initiative has been very appreciated, and since 2016 it has made it possible, through the Informatica Solidale agreement signed with Istituto Techne, to give its discarded computers to needy people. With this action it was possible to recover a lot of IT equipment with outdated technology but still able to satisfy further and different needs, such as the implementation of IT literacy and occupational and social reintegration projects, directing them to different categories of people (elderly, prisoners, disabled, immigrants, political refugees) of the target regional territory. As stipulated in the agreement, Techne handled the functionality and testing of the equipment and managed the deliveries.
120 disposed of devices (70 desktops and 50 laptops) were made available to various associations. Considering the number of computers distributed and their use, the operation is assumed to have reached and involved at least 400 disadvantaged people in 2017. The equipment was assigned to both groups, supervised by teachers and operators and to individual beneficiaries, mainly under the supervision of dedicated tutors.
The Informatica Solidale agreement therefore satisfied important social needs, but also ecological-environmental aspects, avoiding the production of waste and new raw materials to make equipment with not particularly high performance, but fundamental for social integration.