Waste management in Italy: speeding up recycling while saying goodbye to landfilling

Waste management in Italy

waste collection Italy


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The waste management in Italy has a big potential to grow capacity in smart waste handling. The country already has one of the highest recycling rates in the EU, modern waste management plants, and steady practices in alternative fuel handling. But at the same time, there is a growing need to enhance the circular economy and prevent environmental problems.

In this blog post, we’ll run through the state of Italy’s waste management, especially focusing on waste-to-energy and plastic recycling operations. 

We have been happy to see the development of Italian waste management practices, as we have a long history of serving Italian waste management market leaders with our automated and smart Cross Wrap solutions. 

waste collection Italy

In terms of Italian waste management, there are two cross-cutting levels: European standards at the upper level, and local operators and nationwide waste-handling plants at the practice level. 

Compared to the general European Union level, Italians are eager recyclers. The country has one of the highest recycling rates in the EU. At least 51,3 % of municipal waste is recycled, and 79 % of collected waste was recycled in 2021. The numbers have been ballooning especially since the 2010s. 

Italy can also be proud of its strong local waste handling organisations. In general, the plastic separation processes are modern as well, and Italy recycles a lot of different plastics such as PET, HDPE, PDPE and mixed plastics.

However, even though the recycling rate has been rising, there is still work to be done to minimise littering and landfilling. As a popular tourist destination, Italy’s waste handling needs more capacity, so that pollution can be prevented and the handling processes can work as smoothly as possible.

Let’s not forget that the waste handling standards are becoming stricter and must be met. Both EU and local authorities set terms that will help enhance waste handling and reach the circular economy goals.

Smart waste-based fuel handling helps to reduce landfilling 

Besides recycling, Italy has also a strong position in handling and producing waste-based fuels, which will recover non-recyclable materials for valuable practical use. Italy is one of the biggest waste-based fuel exporters in Europe. For example, both RDF (refuse-derived fuel) and SRF (solid recovered fuel) can be used as an energy source, which helps to minimise landfilling. 

Like in all of Europe, the countdown for landfilling has also begun in Italy. The number of landfills has been decreasing in recent years, as it is clear as day that landfilling is not an environmentally friendly option for waste disposal. Landfilling costs are also going up, so it is not a business-wise solution to dispose of waste in landfills.  

As landfilling is not ideal and Italy has a relatively low capacity of its own waste-to-energy plants, the solution is to export the waste-to-energy materials.

And what are the most important things to consider when storing and transporting alternative fuels efficiently? 

It is essential to maintain the calorific value of the material, minimise littering and make logistics as smooth as possible. This can be done with smart and automated bale wrapping and opening solutions that let you maximise the capacity without rising costs. Read more about the most efficient solutions for alternative fuel handling.

Cross Wrap Bale Wrappers are excellent choices for RDF, SRF, and other waste-to-energy materials. 

  • Wrap without baling wires and directly from any two-ram baler chamber with CW Direct Bale Wrapper.
  • Fully automatic machines save manual labor and improve workplace safety.
  • Tightly cross-wrapped and square bales are easy to store and transport without losing calorific value.
  • Wrapping film is also 100% recyclable.

Today more than 80% of Italian waste-based fuel companies use Cross Wrap machines for exporting.

CW Bale Wrapper
CW 2200 Bale Wrapper at the site of our Italian customer

Read also: How Square Bales Differ From Round Bales?

Boost plastic recycling in a sustainable way

Italy has a long spectacular coastline, which also means that handling and recycling plastic waste is a long term top priority. When plastic reaches oceans, it harms ocean biodiversity and can turn into microplastic.

Even though plastic recycling is going well and upwards, plastic is still one of the biggest waste handling issues in Italy. 

The Mediterranean sea is one of the most polluted seas, as every day the sea is polluted by about 730 tonnes of plastic waste. Even though Italy is not responsible alone, every country in the Mediterranean must enhance plastic recycling and do their part to stop ocean pollution. 

As there is a growing need and will to boost plastic recycling, it also means that the recycling processes need to be ultra-modern. Is your facility ready to handle two or three times the capacity in the future? 

With Cross Wrap machines, you can maximise the volume of mechanical recycling of many kinds of plastic types such as PET, HDPE, LDPE and even mixed plastics.

Automatic Bale Dewiring solutions work perfectly in the plastic recycling process, as it handles the crucial feeding phase very efficiently. As the machine cuts and removes the wires around the plastic bale, you can leave behind time and money-wasting manual practices. At the same time, you can boost your operation volume with the lowest operation cost in the industry.

Italy ocean waste recycing

Read also: The future of plastic recycling

Market-leading solutions for more powerful recycling and material flow

See the most popular solutions that our Italian clients operate with:

  1.  Wrapping solutions with CW 2200 Bale Wrapper and Cross Wrap Direct Bale Wrapper, which help to maintain the calorific value of the bale content. Bale wrappers are the perfect choice for the most demanding waste materials such as municipal solid waste or RDF or SRF. 
  2.  Dewiring solutions for all kinds of waste materials, such as plastics, cardboard, alternative fuels or biomass.
  3.  Bale opening solutions with automated wire and film cutting. 

All of our machines are fully automatic, thus saving your labour costs while improving working safety.

Cross Wrap’s wrapping machines have the lowest operational cost of the industry while they can operate on 80-ton-per-hour capacity.

CW Dewiring Machine
CW Dewiring Machine in action

Serving waste management in Italy for more than 20 years 

We are happy to help your facility with smart and automated waste handling solutions! We have been working with the Italian market leaders since the late 1990s and thus we have a strong knowledge of waste management in Italy. You probably have already heard of our machines or seen one in action in Italy. 

Together with our partners, we help waste industry companies to handle and transport different materials in modern and cost-efficient ways. Thanks to our vast international partner network, we can offer the best technological solutions, support and maintenance.

Our smart machines are in operation all around Italy and we have more than 60 machines in Italy covering all peninsula from Bolzano to Sicily.  For example, in Naples there are more than 20 units of our machines, which is the core of our Italian business area. 

With our machines, you can maximise the recycling capacity with automatisation and smart material flows.

Our customer Bernardino Filipponi from Vibeco Waste Solutions: 

We chose Cross Wrap because we believe it is the undisputed leader of this equipment. The purchased machine has been working for 4 years in very severe conditions and we have never had any problems. Excellent Italian assistance with the company from Verona, whose technicians are always available to provide clarifications and collaboration.”

Do you want to hear more about how to take the next stage of your waste management practices in Italy? Contact our Sales Manager for Italy, Mari Hämäläinen, and let’s discuss about the solutions!


If you are interested in waste management in Italy, read nextLa dolce waste of Italy

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