The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - December 2

Italy is recycling more plastic waste each year but there continues to be a major divide between north and south, according to figures unveiled at a conference in Catania. The annual general assembly of the European Association of Plastics, Recycling and Recovery Organizations (EPRO) noted that Italy is now recycling 50% of its plastic waste. However, an outstanding performance in the north is being held back by a lack of progress in the south.

Cities such as Milan recycle 12 kilos per capita of plastic waste, while those in central and southern regions manage just three to five kilos. In total, Italy produces 2.1 million tonnes of plastic waste each year. Of this, 547,000 tonnes are recycled while 627,000 tonnes are used to generate energy.

A recent report by Italy's leading environmental organization Legambiente found a similar divide in terms of recycling general waste. Turin recycles over a third of its rubbish, while Florence and Milan are both just under the 30% mark. The south's two biggest cities, Naples and Palermo, recycle only 5.6% and 8.3% respectively.

Green organizations in Italy have repeatedly warned that the failure to implement effective recycling policies nationwide is not only damaging the environment but is also fueling a perennial trash crisis in the south. According to Legambiente director Francesco Ferrante, the trash emergencies that regularly hit Naples and other parts of the south are "symptoms of the lack of serious waste-management policies".