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 circular economy package, 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 end 2025 and 50% by end 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 municipal waste, the reuse of end-of-life goods, separate collection and amendments to Regional Law 31 of 19 August 1996” also addresses waste prevention, including the possibility to grant, within the framework of the regulation on waste management service fees, incentives for companies that implement waste prevention measures.
During 2018, Hera has developed and participated in many 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 objectives as an essential part of integrated waste management. These initiatives have enabled us to prevent the production of around 9,000 tonnes of waste, equivalent to the annual output of about 14,700 people.
Some of the most significant initiatives included: Among the most significant initiatives there are “Cambia il finale” (Change the ending), “FarmacoAmico” (MedicineFriend), “Cibo Amico” (Food friend), “Hera2O” and “Sorgenti Urbane” (Urban Springs) which are covered by special in-depth sections of this Sustainability Report (case histories).
Since 2018, Hera has been offering citizens a further opportunity to reduce waste production and extend the life-cycle of products. On the proposal of HeraLAB of Ferrara, the laboratory for the area, activated by Hera to promote dialogue and relations with the local community, created a new Reuse Area inside the drop-off point in via Caretti in Ferrara. The initiative started by joining the Cambia il finale (Change the Ending) project (described in a case study of this Report) and is helped by the non-profit organization Officina68 of Ferrara. It is a real box inside the Hera Waste Collection Centre in via Caretti, open from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 am to 6 pm and also on Sunday afternoon from 2 pm to 6 pm. Residents can bring furniture, tables, chairs, beds and nets, bookshelves, crockery, books and various other items as long as they are in good condition. Everything brought by citizens is for all intents and purposes a donation and at the time of delivery documentation will be completed as a receipt of the donation. The material is then delivered to Officina68, which dispatches the goods considered suitable to be reused. With this initiative, every time a citizen goes to the drop-off point, he or she can therefore choose whether to give a second chance of life to his goods by using the Reuse Area or whether to send it for recovery of material, through the recycling chains. Through the activities of the non-profit organizations involved in the project, the Reuse Area also has social aims, offering support to sensitive sections of the population, making used goods available and creating job opportunities for the unemployed, disabled or disadvantaged.
The Reuse Centres
“Second Life”, is a reuse area launched in September 2011 together with the Municipality of Bologna, next to a separate waste collection centre. In 2018, the facility was operated by the social cooperative “Open Group”. During 2017 (most recent data available), Second Life received more than 90,000 objects (slightly down compared to 2016), putting almost all of them back into circulation. The most-exchanged items are clothes (43% of incoming and outgoing items), plates, cake-pans, dishes in general (14% of incoming and outgoing items), books (13% of incoming and outgoing items).
In order to avoid that goods still in good condition become waste and are disposed of in landfills or enter the recycling chain, Marche Multiservizi has joined the Marche Regional Government’s Reuse Centres project (resolution 1719 of 18 December 2010). The Pesaro Centre is purposely included among the Collection Centres where reusable objects collected in the area are grouped and displayed in order to be redistributed free of charge to users who request them, subject to special regulations. The objects can also be disposed of directly by the citizens and are mainly furniture, furnishing accessories, crockery, household goods, gifts, toys and sports items.
Developed by Student Association S.P.R.I.Te. in partnership with the Municipality of Cesena, Hera and the Campus of the University of Cesena, the project represents a reference point in the area for those that wish to get rid of old but functioning computer equipment and for all parties that need reconditioned computers for basic computer activities. The objective of the project is to recover PCs and computer components in general to counter the problems related to hazardous electronic waste. At the same time, it aims to reduce the digital divide of its residents by donating PCs with related peripherals to private individuals, associations and schools in the Municipality of Cesena. In 2018, after seven years of operation, the Trashware project was confirmed also for 2019. The project was promoted through widespread leaflet distribution, active presence on the main social media and organization of events aimed especially at young people. The initiatives to increase its visibility and generate interaction helped increase the number of volunteers participating. In 2018 a trainee was brought on board to develop data removal systems for the recovered hard disks. In 2018, the association also went through a significant organizational and management update that limited its recovery capacity but will allow it to address its future commitments on a more solid and structured basis. Since the project began, over 3,000 interested people have contacted us to donate equipment. Almost 1,200 reconditioned PCs have been given to schools and associations since the project started in 2011; with over 44 of them delivered during 2018.