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Regulatory environment

Waste management is primarily governed at EU level by Directive 2008/98/EC, which outlines the concepts of waste, recovery, and disposal and establishes the essential obligations for proper management of waste. In particular, the Directive establishes that authorisation and registration are mandatory for institutions or companies that carry out waste management operations, and also that the Member States must draw up waste management plans. In Italy, continuing along the direction initiated by Italian Legislative Decree no. 22/1997 (the so-called "Ronchi Decree"), the reference standard is the Consolidated Environmental Code [Testo Unico Ambientale - TUA]- Italian Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 - through which the lawmaker aims to regulate issues concerning the environment and the water cycle. Art. 179 of the Consolidated Environmental Code (TUA), in particular, sets the priorities in the field of waste: the prevention of waste itself and, secondly, its preparation for future reuse, followed by recycling and other recovery operations and, only lastly, as a residual option, its disposal. Over the years, the regulatory framework of the TUA has been affected by significant regulatory developments that have changed its original structure, redesigning important concepts on responsibility in waste management (Articles 188, 189, 190 and 193 of the TUA) and the related sanctions (Articles 258 and 260 of the TUA).
Concerning the main waste streams, the Italian legislation on the management of packaging waste (based on European legislation, under Directive 1994/62/EC and the subsequent Directive 2004/12/EC transposed by Italian Legislative Decree no 22/1997 originally, and subsequently with the TUA) defines the criteria for the general principles for managing packaging waste with reference to the following two underlying assumptions:

  • the extended responsibility of the producers, in compliance with the "polluter pays" principle, holds producers and users responsible for "the proper and effective environmental management of packaging and packaging waste generated by the consumption of their products". The "producer" holds the responsibility for achieving the final recycling and recovery targets set by the applicable legislation;
  • the " joint responsibility ", i.e., cooperation among all economic operators involved in the management of packaging waste, both public and private
    After establishing that producers and users are responsible for the proper and effective management of packaging and packaging waste (art. 221), the TUA lays the foundations of the model for achieving the recovery objectives: art. 223 - Consortia and art. 224 - National Packaging Consortium.
    As far as the management of Waste From Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is concerned, the regulation is established at European level by Directive 2012/19/EU, which has identified the guidelines for the implementation of the WEEE management system at national level for Member States, and which was subsequently implemented by Italian Legislative Decree no. 49 of 14 March 2014 and related Ministerial Decrees which govern the implementation aspects, wherein one of the main principles is that of extended producer responsibility. The proper management of battery and accumulator waste established by Italian Legislative Decree no. 188/2008 - implementing European Directive 2006/66/EC - also provides a regulatory framework in which producers - or consortia acting on their behalf - are responsible for the organisation and management of sorted collection systems for such waste.

The Hera Group operates through an integrated system of recovery and disposal plants that meets the needs of the territory it serves, managing both municipal waste and waste from businesses. To ensure that, through recovery, goods that still have a certain degree of usability are reintroduced into the system, making landfills an even more remote option, the European Union has already launched an "Action Plan for the Circular Economy" in 2015. Among the various regulatory instruments envisaged, four directives stand out (constituting the so-called "circular economy package").that modify the main Community regulations on waste. The final deadline for compliance by Member States set by the EU is 5 July 2020.
The transposition at the national level will be achieved by amending certain measures:

  • Italian Legislative Decree 152/2006 (the TUA)
  • Italian Legislative Decree 36/2003 (implementation of Directive 1999/31/EC on waste landfills);
  • Italian Legislative Decree 209/2003 (implementation of Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles);
  • Italian Legislative Decree 188/2008 (implementation of Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries);
  • Italian Legislative Decree 49/2014 (implementation of Directive 2012/19/EC on WEEE);
 

Page updated 9 December 2019

 
 
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