Urban waste, production will grow again in 2021 (+2.3%)

These are the data of the Ispra Urban Waste Report 2022 edition

In 2021, the national production of municipal waste returned to growth and stood at 29.6 million tonnes, up by 2.3%. Especially in the 16 Municipalities with a resident population of over 200,000 inhabitants, where the increase between 2020 and 2021 is even higher (+2.8%) than the national average. However, growth appears to be lower than that of GDP and household consumption (6.7% and 5.3% respectively). Among the main causes of the increase in the production of urban waste, the recovery of commuting and the return of tourism to Italy, after the pandemic crisis. These are the data of the Ispra Urban Waste Report 2022 edition.

Overall significant results for separate waste collection: 64% the national average. Veneto (76.2%) and Sardinia (74.9%) record the highest percentages among the nine regions that exceed the 65% target. Abruzzo is also very close to reaching the target (64.6%), followed by Tuscany and Valle d’Aosta. Significant leap forward for Basilicata, which with an increase of 6 points compared to 2020 reaches 62.7%. Still below 50% Sicily (46.9%) which, however, marks an important progress of + 4.7 points compared to the percentage of 2020. As in previous years, the highest levels of separate waste collection are found for the province of Treviso, which reached 88.6% in 2021, followed by Mantua (86.4%) and Belluno (83.8%). Among the metropolitan cities, the percentage of Cagliari is still growing with 74.4%. “The thrust of sorting has led over the years to a growing demand for new treatment plants, especially for the organic fraction, but not all regions have sufficient structures to treat the quantities produced”, notes Ispra.

In 2021, the share of organic waste sent for treatment will grow by 190,000 tonnes, equal to 2.9%. More than half of the operational waste management plants (657 throughout Italy) deal with this fraction. Despite the fact that in the last decade the use of landfills has decreased by 52%, “it is necessary to halve this form of disposal in the short term, which concerns almost 5.6 million tons of urban waste (19% of the waste produced)”, underlines Ispra.

Particular attention from Europe is paid to packaging and packaging waste, with ambitious recycling targets for 2025 and 2030. With the application of the new calculation methods, the targets set for 2025 have practically already been achieved for all packaging fractions, with the exception of plastics. “It is necessary to increase the recycling of the latter, equal to 47%, to reach the target of 50% by intervening with new treatment technologies, especially for those types of waste that are currently difficult to recover through mechanical processes”, he explains Ispra.

In 2021, the urban waste exported is 3 times higher than that imported: Italy has taken out 659 thousand tons, while imports are 219 thousand. Campania and Lazio are the two regions that export their quantities the most. Austria, Portugal and Spain are the countries where we send the most municipal waste.

The national average annual per capita cost of municipal waste management is equal to 194.5 euros/inhabitant (in 2020 it was 185.6), an increase of 8.9 euros per inhabitant. The highest costs are found in the Center with 230.7 euros/inhabitant, followed by the South with 202.3 euros/inhabitant, while in the North the cost is equal to 174.6 euros/inhabitant.