Recycling Around the World… Italy

posted 03.09.2009
Todays recipro post revisits the Recycling around the world series BBC reporter Jeremy Bowen discusses Italy.

Waste disposal regulations in Italy vary from district to district. In Rome, the rules were toughened earlier this month. People who do not separate their rubbish can be fined up to 619 euros if they have a recycling bin within 500 metres of their front door.

Romans often claim that it is hard to find a bin and even harder to find one that is not full. The city council has ordered 2,500 new bins. They are colour-coded green for household waste, white for paper and blue for plastic.

The streets of the historic centre of Rome have almost no recycling bins yet. The streets are cleaned very efficiently, by vehicles that drive over waste and suck it up like enormous self-propelled vacuum cleaners.

In southern Italy local politicians claim that the waste management industry is controlled by organised crime. Last year the European Commission said it was taking action against Italy, for 28 breaches of EU laws on the environment. It said that Italy was denying its citizens the same quality of life enjoyed by people in other EU countries.

When I moved here five months ago I asked the caretaker of my building whether I should separate my family's rubbish. He laughed and looked incredulous. "Are you joking?" he said. "This is Rome."

Category: environment, general, in the news, legislation, recycling