Zero waste in Capannori

Tuscan town boasts best recycling rate in Italy

Editorial Staff
June 4, 2009

A small Tuscan town in the province of Lucca promises to be Italy's first zero waste community by 2020. Officials from the municipality of Capannori recently announced a new policy to deal with garbage disposal: reduce its rubbish to nil over the next 10 years.The town attributes its success to its rubbish-reduction policies. Capannori's door-to-door garbage collection has already reduced the amount of non-separated rubbish by 10,000 tons since its implementation. To boost public awareness on waste reduction strategies, residents were given a free kit explaining how to sort household rubbish to reduce mistakes when separating garbage.To date, authorities in Capannori report a record-breaking recycling rate of 82 percent, compared to the average recycling rate in Italy, reported at 27.5 percent. With 43,000 of its 46,000 residents already recycling, the town's next goal is to recycle 100 percent of its garbage over the next decade.The data speaks for itself, says environment councilor Alessio Ciacci. ‘In 2007, a total of 15,723 tons of separated refuse were collected in Capannori. In the Province of Lucca, the average cost for the disposal of non-separated waste is equivalent to 160 euro per ton. If those 15,723 tons had ended up in the non-separated refuse circuit, the cost of disposal in dumps and incinerators for this amount of refuse would have equaled a staggering 2,515,680 euro', Ciacci explains. The municipality of Capannori currently spends 507,688 euro to recycle the same amount of refuse. The data also show that recycled paper can be a resource. In 2007, nearly 100,000 trees and 2.85 million liters of water were saved, and 9,100 tons of C02 emissions were prevented through Capannori's paper recycling program. In 2008, the municipality even earned 340,000 euro from paper recycling.

Moreover, Ciacci notes, because the town council has saved millions of euro in costs related to waste, Capannori's residents pay less for garbage disposal and recycling services than do those in other municipalities across Italy.

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