sorted waste
over an area with 3.1 million
waste recovered
the amount of sorted waste
recuperated, going towards
a circular economy
thousand tons of CO2 avoided
with the plastic recycled
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 material;
  • other waste: inert materials from small demolitions, used mineral oil and cooking oil, batteries and accumulators, pharmaceuticals and other hazardous municipal waste.

In Emilia-Romagna, Regional Law 16 of 2015 on the Circular Economy set as a minimum objective by end 2020 the launch of Quantity-Based Tariff throughout the region. Quantity-based tariff is one of the economic and financial instruments for implementing the Regional Waste Management Plan and makes the payment of sanitation services no longer only linked to the area and the number of residents in a house, but also to the quantity of non-separate waste produced. The quantity-based tariff rewards responsible conduct.

As regards local collection, which accounts for the majority of waste, Hera is implementing various systems geared 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): for the sake of simplicity, the local collection services of each municipality are reclassified by their most common system.

Main forms of waste collection used in the areas served
number of municipalities served 2016 2017 2018 % 2018 (on the number of residents)
Roadside collection 127 106 86 53%
Roadside collection with special disposal-control mechanisms 23 32 31 20%
Mixed system (door-to-door non-separated and roadside separated waste) 13 24 31 14%
Total door to door 24 25 26 13%
Total 187 187 174 100%

In view of the gradual switch to quantity-based tariff in Emilia-Romagna, reorganization of the service has started and will continue in coming years to implement identification and measurement of disposals. In 2018 in Emilia-Romagna, for the same area, the number of municipalities with a simple container roadside collection system fell again and there was an increase in the collection systems that identify users at the time of disposal, to initiate or prepare for the start of quantity-based tariff. 30 municipalities use disposal control systems (plus 1 municipality in the Triveneto area) and 17 use total door-to-door, with an increase of 4 municipalities compared to 2017 (plus 3 municipalities in Triveneto and 6 in the Marche region). As far as the “mixed” system is concerned, i.e. with door-to-door collection for organic and non-separate waste and roadside collection for other separate waste, the municipalities have become 3, increasing by 2 compared to 2017 (plus 1 municipality in Triveneto and 27 in the Marche region).

In the Triveneto area, the methods used by the waste collection service, both in the province of Padua and in the Municipality of Trieste, have not changed. The collection systems already used in 2017 in all the territories served were substantially confirmed. The changes concern the extension of the perimeter of door to door collection to the Mortise and S. Lazzaro districts in Padua, which however confirm a mixed system collection in this area. As far as the Municipality of Trieste is concerned, the collection system is mainly roadside. Also in the Marche region 3 municipalities changed from roadside collection to a mixed system (residential collection for the non-separate waste and roadside collection for the separate waste).

The percentage of separate waste collection for 2004-2016 is calculated including the quantities of waste from road sweeping, and excluding the waste from the beaches, and only for 2013-2016 takes into account Emilia-Romagna’s Regional Government Decision 2317/2009. 2017 and 2018 data are calculated according to Regional Authority Decision. 2218/2016, including road cleaning for recovery and the estimate of waste from domestic composting granted by the Regional Government, excluding neutral fractions (beach, cemetery and EER flows not allowed as municipal). Separate collected waste also includes similar-to-municipal waste disposed of by manufacturers for recovery and waste collected by volunteer associations or directly by municipalities. The differing criteria for considering waste as similar-to-municipal laid down by ATERSIR and Municipalities may be responsible for quota differences from one area to the next. The amount of waste consists of separate (allowed EER sent for recovery, allowed community and domestic composting) and non-separate collection (solid municipal waste, street sweeping for disposal, bulky waste for disposal and any waste collected separately but sent for disposal).

In 2018, separate waste amounted to 1,285.6 thousand tonnes (+5% compared to 2017). At Group level, the percentage of separate waste, i.e. the relationship between the quantity of municipal waste collected in separate form and total municipal waste, went from 58.2% in 2017 to 62.5% in 2018. The national average as found by Ispra was 55.5% in 2017 (Source: Ispra, 2018 Municipal Waste Report).

In the 9 provincial capital cities served by Hera Group, in 2017, the level of separate waste collection reached 55%, compared with a national average of 43% in Italy’s provincial capital cities and 56.3% in the cities of Northern Italy (weighted averages, Sources: processing of Legambiente data, 2018 Urban Ecosystem).

In Emilia-Romagna the percentage of separate waste collection increased by 4.5 percentage point, from 58.9% to 63.4%. The change in scope compared to last year, due to 13 municipalities in Forlì switching to the in-house company, had no impact in terms of percentage of separate collection in Emilia-Romagna: the 2017 indicator, calculated net of these municipalities, stood at 58.8% (58.9% including the municipalities of the Forlì area). At the provincial level, the percentage of separate waste collection reaches 87% in Ferrara, 65% in the provinces of Modena and Rimini, and 60% in the province of Bologna (up 7.7 percentage points compared to 2017). The remaining provinces still exceed 55.5% of the Italian national average.

At municipal level, 2018 closes with 98 municipalities (out of 174 managed) with a percentage of separate waste collection of over 62% (equal to the Group average). Of these, 44 municipalities exceed 75%. Furthermore, in 54 municipalities, the quantity of unsorted waste is less than 150 kilograms per capita. In Emilia-Romagna the municipalities that exceed 62% of separate waste collection are 60 out of 122, for a total of 1.4 million inhabitants (58% of the total). In Triveneto, four out of six municipalities exceed the Group average. In Marche there are 34 out of 46 municipalities above 62% separate collection, which corresponds to 90% of the total inhabitants of the territory.

The Group’s separate waste collection, according to Emilia-Romagna data, includes similar-to-municipal waste sent for recovery by manufacturers and separate waste collected by volunteer associations or directly by municipalities as defined by Emilia-Romagna Regional Authority’s Decision 2218/2016, implemented in the municipal and local regulations in force. The situation is very diverse throughout our service area and depends on the revisions of the regulations of the individual municipalities. In 2018, this amount of waste was around 110 thousand tonnes, excluding AcegasApsAmga and Marche Multiservizi, or 11% of the total amount of separate waste collected at Group level, down from 2017 (-16%); note, however, that these quantities are subject to different timing and dynamics not directly related to the services present in the area. At Group level, these quantities amounted to 8.6% of the total separate waste collected, down compared to 2017.

The Group’s separate waste collection target for 2022 is 73% (74% for Hera Spa, 73% for Marche Multiservizi and 68% for AcegasApsAmga), as envisaged in the latest Business Plan approved by Hera Spa’s Board of Directors in January 2019.

When considering the effectiveness of separate waste collection, a useful indicator is the quantity per capita figure, expressed in kg/inhabitant/year, which enables significant analyses on the quantities of waste sent for recovery, both overall and by single supply chain. Per inhabitant separate waste collection at Group level increased from 370 kg in 2017 to 410 kg in 2018, up 10.8% compared to the previous year.

At per capita level, separate waste collection in Emilia-Romagna, in the areas served by Hera Spa, is around 434 kg/inhabitant/year, with an increase of 12.1% compared to 2017, reaching a total quantity of more than one million tonnes. As to the individual areas, the strong growth trend in Ferrara is continuing, with a further 34% increase in separate waste collection per capita compared to 2017. This trend began last year with the reorganisation of the collection system and the application of quantity-based tariff. Also concerning the separate waste collection per capita, there have been increases in Cesena (excluding the municipalities under the in-house company of the Municipality of Forlì, since 2018) with a 19% increase and in the provinces of Bologna and Modena with a 12% increase.

The comparison of the Group data for 2017 with the 2017 average national figure (272 kg per capita) is quite significant compared with that of Northern Italy (333 kg) as found by ISPRA, also due to the high amount of similar-to-municipal waste in Hera’s service area.

Considering Italy’s provincial administrative capitals with populations over 100,000 inhabitants, 4 of the top 10 best-performing Italian cities by per capita separate waste collection were served by the Hera Group in 2018.

On the other hand, considering provincial capitals with populations of over 300,000 inhabitants, Bologna ranks third in Italy, while it was fourth in 2012. (Source: processing of Legambiente data, 2018 Urban Ecosystem).

As regards the separate waste collection data on the types of material collected, the details of the individual types are set out below, with the most significant changes in 2018 compared to 2017:

  • the collection of plastic (+19%) and glass (+13%) containers on the total grew further, due to the conversion of multi-material collections, the subject of specific communication campaigns in collaboration with the respective Consortia for those types. The data on the per capita quantities in Emilia-Romagna are significant in these sectors, with a 27.8% increase for plastics and a 22.3% increase for glass;
  • there was growth in the organic fraction (+9%), particularly in Emilia-Romagna and Marche, introduced in some areas with new reorganizations of services. Also in this case, there was a notable +16.3% on the per capita data for the Emilia-Romagna area;
  • collection of bulky waste fell 6%;
  • the decline in multi-material collections in Emilia-Romagna continued (-12.3% of the total and -5.8% per capita) due to the reorganisation of the service, since, in accordance with the guidelines of the Regional Waste Management Plan, the collection of light multi-material is being phased out. This decrease is however compensated by an increase for the Triveneto area, which therefore leads to an overall +4%;
  • the Other item increased as a result of the greater quantities of road sweeping dispatched for recovery and the inclusion of the estimate of volumes of waste for domestic composting (as per Regional Authority Decision 2218/2016), which in 2017 had not been counted since the Emilia-Romagna Regional Government had not yet decided on the municipalities admitted.
Separate waste collection by waste type
Thousands of t 2016 2017 2018
Paper and cardboard 259.5 258.5 263.5
Green waste 240.3 227.7 227.6
Glass 95.1 91.2 103.9
Organic waste 197.3 203.4 220.9
Plastic containers 85.4 84.4 100.3
Waste from mixed materials collection 65.8 61.4 63.6
Wood 90.7 95.5 102.1
Bulky waste 50.5 50.4 47.5
Inert materials 59.1 67.4 66.4
Iron 27.9 10.8 12.1
WEEE 16.9 16.9 17.6
Other 26.9 56.5 60.
Total 1,215.8 1,224.9 1,285.6

Separate waste collection by waste type for 2016 takes into account the Regional Authority Decision 2317/2009 and for 2017 (restated) and 2018 takes into account Regional Authority Decision 2218/2016.

Separate waste collection per capita (2017)
  Paper Glass Plastic Wood Metals Organic and green waste
Hera Group (2018)
84 33 32 33 4 143
Northern Italy 62 41 26 21 7 127
Italy 54 33 21 13 5 110
Best region 87* 46** 32** 35** 13** 159*

*Emilia Romagna, **Valle d’Aosta. Source: Ispra, 2018 Municipal Waste Report

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 material. In all cases, except for metal, Hera is above the national average and for all cases, except glass and metal, it is above the average for northern Italy.

The cost of collecting and disposing of municipal waste is also influenced by the revenue coming from the sale of separately collected and recovered material or the contributions that Conai (the national packaging association) provides to the service operator. In 2017, 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.