After the stop of economic activities due to the pandemic, in 2021 the production of special waste increased significantly, reaching 165 million tons. The 12.2% increase corresponds to about 18 million tons. It is reported by theIspra, in the annual report on special waste. The dossier, prepared by the National Center for Waste and the Circular Economy in collaboration with the regional and provincial agencies for environmental protection, examines over 60 indicators developed at national level, by geographical and regional macro-area, by economic activity and by type of refusal.
Meanwhile, theItaly is a net importer of waste. Approximately 7.4 million tons are imported compared to exports of just over 3.9 million tons. The 98.7% of imported waste (about 7.3 million tons) consists of non-hazardous waste and the remainder 1.3% (98 thousand tons) from hazardous waste.
In particular, we import scrap metal from Germany (1.9 million tons) and from France (399 thousand tons of waste) recovered from the metallurgical industries located in Lombardy and in Friuli Venezia Giulia. From the Swiss 432,000 tons of earth and rocks come from, almost entirely destined for Lombardy for environmental recovery activities.
The 67% (2.6 million tons) of exported waste consists of non-hazardous waste and the remainder 33% (about 1.3 million tons) from hazardous. We mainly export to Germany (831,000 tonnes of which 582,000 tonnes hazardous), waste produced by treatment plants (270,000 tonnes) and from construction and demolition activities (266,000 tonnes).
Almost half of special waste (47.7%) comes from construction and demolition activities (78.7 million tons), a sector that confirms itself as the main one in total production. For this typology, the recycling percentage is significant (80.1%) largely exceeding the target of 70% set by the legislation for 2020. Recovery mainly concerns the production of embankments and road foundations.
In general the special waste management has been implemented for over 10 thousand plants present in Italy (5,928 are located in the North, 1,899 in the Center and 2,936 in the South). Material is recovered from 72.1% of the specials and only 5.7% of the total managed involves landfill disposal (10.2 million tons). The regions that produce the most special waste are Lombardy (37.4 million tons), Veneto (18 million) and Emilia Romagna (14.6 million). In the Centre, the greatest production is in the Lazio (10,2) and in the South in Puglia (11.4).
The report also provides data on waste flows which, in terms of quantity or complexity, present the greatest management problems.
As far as asbestos is concerned, the quantities of waste containing it produced in Italy amount to 339 thousand tonnes, with a decrease of 12.2% compared to 2020. "In general, there is no systematic decontamination activity of the infrastructures present in the area, which should lead to a progressive growth in the production of this waste", Ispra denounces.
For end-of-life vehicles, the supply chain reaches a reuse and recycling percentage of 84.3% of the average weight of the vehicle, slightly below the target of 85% set for 2015 by legislation. The total recovery, for which a target of 95% is set, is not achieved as the energy recovery of none of the fractions deriving from vehicle treatment is carried out.
The quantities of sludge from urban wastewater treatment produced nationwide amount to just over 3.2 million tonnes, down by 4.5% compared to 2020. 52.3% of the total managed is sent for disposal and 45.6% recovering. For sewage sludge, the National Waste Management Program has identified the need to implement recovery technologies, including energy ones.
As for the medical waste produced in Italy, they amount to over 265,000 tonnes, of which approximately 239,000 tonnes of hazardous waste. For the latter there is a growth of +14% compared to 2020. Management operations aimed at waste disposal represent around 75% of the total. The sector legislation, which favors disposal operations, is in any case outdated and could be updated, favoring, where possible, safe forms of recovery.