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Separate waste collection

Separate waste collection, performed by the Hera Group mainly with the single materials system, regards an extremely wide range of waste. The main materials are paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, tins, organic waste, clippings, and bulky waste, collected mainly through roadside and domestic collections. In addition there is the waste disposed of by citizens in Separate Waste Collection Centres (or Equipped Drop-Off Points) where the range of managed materials is completed, and more specifically: waste from electrical and electronic appliances (WEEE) sorted by categories, mineral or cooking oils, batteries and accumulators, medicines and other dangerous waste. In specific cases, mixed materials collection is envisaged, where different types of materials are collected at the same time, favouring those that are easiest to separate in the selection plants.

Number and volume of separated waste collection bins
Number of bins (no.)147,604162,511175,793
Bin volume (m3)181,941196,197210,261

The implementation of the WMS system and its evolution with the IEB (Basic Drop-Off Points) project resulted in a marked increase both in terms of number of skips (bins, "igloo" bins, drums) for separated waste collection available to residents, and in terms of total volumes of the skips, and a concurrent reduction in the number of skips for non-separated waste.
Compared to 2010, there were increases in both the number of bins for separate waste collection (+8%) and their volume (+7%). The increases mainly regarded the areas of Ferrara, Forlė-Cesena, Modena and Pesaro. In order to improve the efficiency of its services, the Group has also reduced the number and volume of bins for non-separate waste collection (the overall volume available to each citizen has fallen by 6% in the last three years).
An additional separate waste collection system was implemented through the Collection Centres, of which there are 138 in the area in which Hera operates. These points, which are also called equipped drop-off points, are dedicated areas with bays and containers, open to the general public, for users to directly drop-off separate waste, which is then sent for suitable recovery or disposal. Many Collection Centres are equipped with weighing and user-recognition systems: in addition to tracking waste drop off, these systems permit the application of tariff discounts.

Separated waste collection

The percentage of separate waste collection is calculated excluding waste from shorelines and without taking into account Decree of the Regional Government no. 2317/2009.

Over the last few years, the quantity of separate waste collected has risen, maintaining good quality: this favours the recovery of waste as a material in recovery and recycling plants, as well as reducing the quantities being disposed of.
The percentage of separated waste represents the relationship between the quantity of urban waste collected in separate form and the total amount of urban waste.
In 2011, separate waste collection came to 50.5% (51% if you exclude Marche Multiservizi).
It should be underlined that for the calculation of separate waste collection, regional regulations (Decree of the Regional Government no. 2317/2009, which modified Decree of the Regional Government no. 1620/2001) have established new criteria that essentially excludes non-reusable fractions (i.e. the waste downstream of the screening processes) deriving from mixed materials collection from the separate waste collection calculation. With this method, the percentage of separate waste collection in 2011 came to 50.2%. (50.7% if you exclude Marche Multiservizi).
In Italy, separate waste collection in the provincial capital cities in 2010 came to 32%; this figure is higher in capital cities in the North of Italy: 41.5% (source Legambiente, Ecosistema Urbano).
The calculation of separate waste collection also includes similar waste sent for recovery by the manufacturer and separate waste collected from third parties as provided by Decree of the Regional Government no. 2317/2009, implemented in municipal regulations and regulations of the Water and Waste Regulatory Authorities in force. In 2011, this amount of waste was equal to 126,000 metric tons, or 13% of total separate waste collected, as was the case the previous year.

As well as the percentage of separated waste, an equally effective indicator is the separated waste per capita, expressed in kg/inhabitant/year, which makes it possible to make important comparisons regarding the overall quantities of waste sent for recovery and, in particular, by single supply chain. In 2011 per capita separate waste collection came to 347 kg per inhabitant, an increase of 2.2% on 2010. This figure is very important, particularly if compared with the national figure: according to processing of Legambiente, Ecosistema Urbano data, in 2010 separate waste collection came to 186 kg per capita, and in Northern Italy 245 kg per capita.
Of great significance are the per capita quantities related to the area served by Hera and 2011 for the main fractions, presented below with an indication in brackets of the 2009 Northern Italy figure (source 2011 Ispra Urban Waste Report): paper and cardboard 76 kg per inhabitant (63); plastic 22 (15); organic and green waste 116 (93); glass 30 (41).

Separate waste collection in the main Italian cities

Considering provincial administrative centres with populations of over 100,000 inhabitants, 5 of the top 10 best-performing cities in Italy are managed by Hera. Considering provincial administrative centres with populations of over 300,000 inhabitants, the municipality of Bologna is third in Italy (source: processing of Legambiente, Ecosistema Urbano data).


La raccolta differenziata nelle principali cittā italiane

In 2011 separate waste collection came to 958.5 thousand metric tons (+3.2% compared with 2010): this value is highly significant if compared with the quantity of overall urban waste produced in Italy, around 30 million metric tons.
The confirmation of the positive growth trend as regards separate waste collection is a result that can be traced to the reorganisation of the service carried out by Hera in accordance with the municipal authorities and the Waste and Water Regulatory Authorities, and the growing environmental awareness of citizens. Specifically:

  • differentiation of collection systems by area and convergence towards highly efficient organisational models such as the Basic Drop-Off Points or domestic collection;
  • broadening of usability standards of the Separate Waste Collection Centres and incentivising tariff levies;
  • research and innovation in control and waste drop off traceability systems, such as the "lids" in the Province of Rimini, and the electronic traceability of waste collection with bins;
  • information and awareness campaigns at corporate level with education in schools, direct information to citizens and actions aimed at preventing waste.

Separating waste in Forlė and Cesena

In 2011 Hera strengthened the separate waste collection system in Forlė and Cesena. In Forlė this took place through domestic collection with the use of specific bins dedicated to the various materials (4,100 residents involved). In Cesena, collection took place through a system that involves the domestic collection of organic and unseparated waste, and the roadside collection of other types of rubbish (9,000 residents).

As regards individual communities, Rimini proved to be particularly virtuous, continuing its rapid ascent with a figure around 60%. The growth of Marche Multiservizi was also significant. The three territories that went beyond 50% of separate waste collection in 2010 (Modena, Ravenna and Rimini) were joined in 2011 by Ferrara and Forlė-Cesena; they were followed by Imola-Faenza and Bologna.

Separate waste collection by Territorial Operating Structure
Bologna TOS39.7%39.0%39.7%
Ferrara TOS46.6%49.0%51.2%
Forlė-Cesena TOS45.9%48.4%50.1%
Imola-Faenza TOS43.8%46.2%49.2%
Modena TOS49.7%51.3%53.6%
Ravenna TOS51.7%56.0%58.1%
Rimini TOS43.1%52.8%59.2%
Marche Multiservizi37.2%39.7%44.3%

The percentage of separate waste collection is calculated including the quantities of waste deriving from road sweeping, excluding the waste from the shore, and without taking account of Decree of the Regional Government no. 1620/2001. The calculation of separately collected waste also includes similar waste transferred by manufacturers for recovery and separately collected waste from third parties or directly from municipalities. The differing criteria for assimilation laid down by the Water and Waste Regulatory Authorities and municipalities may be responsible for quota differences from one area to the next.

The increase in separated waste recorded in 2011 particularly regarded organic waste (+18%), plastic (+14%), iron (+13%) and glass (+9%). The reduction of mixed materials collection continued (-19%), with single materials collection growing in popularity.

Separate waste collection by waste type (2011)
Thousands of t20102011
Paper and cardboard206.8212.5
Green waste199.1191.3
Organic waste109.9129.9
Plastic containers52.759.8
Mixed materials79.764.7
Inert materials43.350.1

Separate waste collection by waste type is calculated here without taking account of Decree of the Regional Government no. 1620/2001.

Separate waste collection by waste type (2010)

Tracking waste: where does the separated waste collected go?

For the second year in a row, in 2011 Hera published a report on the destination of separately collected waste. The 48 first destination waste plants were identified in 2010 and, by involving the managers of these plants, the percentage of waste transformed into "second raw materials" (replacing raw materials of natural origins) was determined and the production plants that utilise the materials deriving from separate waste collection identified.
The initiative regarded the main materials collected separately: paper, green waste (residues, prunings), organic waste, glass, wood, plastic, iron and metals (steel, aluminium and tinplate packaging).
In 2010 the overall percentage effectively recovered was 92.1%: 90.3% paper, 94.3% organic, 96.6% green, 94.2% glass, 78.4% plastic, 93.3% metal, 89.4% wood and 100% iron.
The results were presented in a leaflet distributed at the main customer branches, at schools and public events. The leaflet was also distributed to all families. The same data can be viewed on the Group website. The initiative, repeated every year, is one of the tools that the company uses to report on the progress it is making in terms of sustainable development.

As well as the portion of separately collected waste that is effectively recovered, part of the undifferentiated waste collected is sent for recovery via processing at mechanical screening plants. In 2011, around 176,000 metric tons of undifferentiated waste was sent to these plants, equal to 18.2% of all undifferentiated urban waste collected. From these materials ferrous metals (approx. 1,281 metric tons in 2011 sent for recovery) and the humid fraction of waste (92,000 metric tons sent to composting plants for the production of biostabilised compost for landfill capping) are separated.

Optical readers to recover increasing quantities of plastic

Further increase the recovery of materials deriving from separate waste collection in terms of quality and quantity, at the same time improving the working conditions of employees involved in the separation process. These are the goals of the new line equipped with optical readers for the separation of plastic opened in October 2011 in Voltana di Lugo (RA) at the Akron plant owned by Herambiente (Hera Group).
At the new line the rubbish undergoes initial separation through a revolving screen with materials sorted into three fractions of different sizes. Suitable materials, in terms of size, then move on to two optical readers equipped with visible light sensors that are able to identify the materials on the basis of their colour characteristics, and short-range infrared sensors, which recognise the materials from the characteristics of their reflected light. At this point automatic separation takes place: the plastic can be selected according to type of polymer (polyethylene, polypropylene, PET, PVC etc.) or colour (blue, transparent etc.), and is separated from any impurities on the belt.