CONSORZIO ITALIANO COMPOSTATORI

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1 The Organic Waste sector in Italy In the past few years the increase of recovered materials from the source separated system has become an encouraging factor for the Italian waste industry. However, it is not always easy to declare which materials have the greatest influence on the overall recovery rate. As shown in Figure 1, compared to other recovered materials, organic waste is the most collected from the source separation system. Figure 1. percentage of recovery materials from MSW (CIC elaborated 2009 data, from Ispra 2011 report) BULKY TO RECOVERY, 3.05% METALS, 3.16% SELECTIVE, 0.34% WOOD, 6.27% PLASTIC, 5.69% GLASS, 15.80% ORGANIC FRACTION (WET AND GREEN), 34.74% PAPER, 27.49% OTHER, 0.79% TEXTILE, 0.66% WEEE, 2.01% From the first experience of integrated waste collection and the first application of Italian Legislative Decree n. 22/97,( which aimed to reach 35% of source separated collection rate), it became clear that separated collection of organic waste was the key factor to achieve a high recovery rate. Nowadays, in accordance with the Italian Legislative Decree n.152/06 and the more recent Waste Framework Directive (d.lgs.205/2010), organic waste has the most potential to reach higher levels of materials recovered. As a result, the integration of organic waste into the source separated collection system is essential to fulfill those target requirements.

2 Kt/Yr No. Composting Facilities CONSORZIO ITALIANO COMPOSTATORI Figure 2: Organic waste treated and compost operating facilities in Italy ( ) Kt Composted No. Composting Plants Figure 2 shows that in Italy in 2009 almost 4 million tons of organic waste (food and yard waste) were assembled by the source separated collection system. These 4 million tons represents almost 35% of the overall recovery materials from source separated collection system. Currently, the number of organic waste treatment plants is growing, especially for those plants with industrial capacities (over 10,000 t / year). According to the ISPRA (Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale) report, in 2009 in Italy there were 236 industrial-sized composting plants, of which only 179 were operating. This data however, does not include small yard and wood waste composting facilities (less than 1000 t / year) in small municipalities.the increase in the number of new opening composting facilities, has increased along with the spreading of organic waste collected from the source separated system in Italian cities Over the last few years the recovery of organic waste from the resource separated collection system has been steadily increasing by 5% each year. The CIC believes that by 2020 the organic waste sector in Italy will double the current amount of compostable collected materials. In fact, with the introduction of organic waste into source separation systems in southern Italy, the Italian compost sector will increase from nearly 4 million tons each year of treated organic waste to about 7 million tons by 2020, of which more than half will come from source separated collection of domestic foodwaste.

3 Kt / Yr CONSORZIO ITALIANO COMPOSTATORI.Figure 3. Forecast of Domestic Food waste collection from the source separation system by 2020 In Italy, food waste and yard waste represent roughly 80% of urban waste compostable materials (see Fig. 4). Figure 4. Food and yard waste contribution to a total municipal compostable waste Total Composted Wet + Green

4 Other 9% Sewage Sludge 12% Kitchen Waste 43% Green Waste 36% The CIC communicated that in 2009 the Italian composting sector had processed 3.7 million tons of organic waste, producing circa 1.3 million tons of certificated quality compost. At that time, about 70% of compost was used as open field fertilizer while 30% was processed to manufacture garden and landscape products. In 2003, Consorzio Italiano Compostatori introduced the certification of quality compost to promote the quality of compost production and to help customers to visually identify the quality compost among others. Nowadays, CIC quality compost certification involves about 40 compost facilities and more than 30% of compost in the Italian market has the CIC quality compost logo (see Figure 5. CIC quality compost logo

5 Reasons for the increase of certified quality compost are as follows: substantial communication and marketing investments as well as marketing activities and circulation of information convenient price of compost compared to mineral fertilizers; incentives for compost utilization in organic deficient soils, (Sustainable Rural Development plan) the recovery of organic matter in soils (Rural Development Plans) the extensive availability of the product. Within the past few years, the anaerobic digestion of organic waste has been steadily increasing. This form of treatment is chosen in almost all new opening composting facilities. CIC believes that the integration of AD and composting processes present the following advantages: improvement of the plant s energy balance through the production of renewable energy; improved ability of operation controls lower footprint while treating same amount of waste; CO2 reduction emissions of (zero or positive balance); reduction of pathogenic organisms due to double heat treatments; reduction of ligno-cellulosic materials used compared with standard aerobic treatments The above advantages as well as the increase of organic waste available, has given the AD sector an opportunity to excel. Almost 86% of the AD facilities are members of CIC. Thus, The Consortium is the reference organization for not only who is processing organic waste producing high quality compost but also for those involved in the production of biogas for electricity and, natural gas production. Biodegradable and compostable products Presently, the large quantities of plastic brought into the market is leading to an increase of postconsumer waste. Since plastic materials are resistant to biodegradation, without a dedicated recycling initiative, they can become a dangerous environmental threat. The presence of post-consumer plastics by error or negligence into source separated organic waste represents a problem for composting facilities. When machines separate post-consumer plastics, they also eliminate precious organic waste trapped in undesired materials from composting plants. Undesired plastic in the composting facilities still remains as a waste and the plants need to dispose it outside the composting facility. CIC confirms that while the Italian composting sector produces more than 1,3 million tons of soil rich compost nutrients, it still needs to dispose about 332 thousand tons a year of unwanted materials. In particular, there is still 120 thousand tons a year that is represented by plastic

6 waste. These composting facilities need to further dispose this waste. As a result, composting plants have to sustain a burden cost to dispose plastic waste. The burden cost leads to a tremendous impact on the economy of the entire Italian composting sector. Composting Plants in Italy 220 Organic waste treated , 715, 000 t Compost Produced 1, 340, 000 t unwanted material (uncompostable material) 332, 393 t (9%) Packaging Plastic Waste (circa) 60, 000 t In the worst scenario if the organic waste is highly contaminated with post-consumer plastics it could compromise the entire organic treatment process. In fact, by the Italian law (D.lgs. 75/2010) if a plastics content is higher than 0.5% the compost produced cannot be commercialized. As a result, materials such as polyethylene and polystyrene may compromise the ability of the composting sector to reach quality compost fertilizer parameters set by D. lgs. n.75/10. Clearly, the scenario is completely different when the plastics are biodegradable and compostable (bioplastic). In fact, if packaging is made with bioplastics, it can be biodegraded during the composting process without causing any problems. The increasing use of compostable bags employed to separate organic waste leads to strongly reduces plastic contaminants into composting facilities. In addition, process costs decrease while compost quality improves. CIC suggests that if the collection of organic household separated waste is carried out with PE bags the average of enclosed non-compostable materials (NCM) is about 7.05%. While, if the collection is performed with compostable bags the level of NCM drops to 1.55%. As a result, compostable bags strongly improve the quality of organic waste. In addition, compared to PE bags, treating organic waste collected into compostable bags results in 10 to 20 euro of cost saving per ton of organic waste treated. Anaerobic digestion facilities that treat organic waste collected from the source separated system require uniform organic matter and the absence of extraneous materials. As a result, the quality of organic waste is essential to sustain both composting and AD plants. CIC has in important role in monitoring and protecting the Italian organic waste sector. In particular, CIC performs across the Italian peninsula hundreds of quality assurance analysis to incoming organic waste. Thus, CIC warns that post-consumers packaging plastics represent 60% of incoming unwanted materials (MNC)coming to composting facilities. Eliminating plastics from organic waste is a top

7 priority for the composting sector. Consequently, in 2008 in collaboration with Certiquality, CIC introduced in Italy the quality certification program on compostable products. The certification program is performed respecting the European regulation EN:13432 which guarantees the biodegradation of compostable packaging. On the website, CIC lists compostable products that successfully passed this test and provides also general information on those innovative bioplastic products. The CIC-compostabile logo ensures composting facilities and consumers that the item can be disposed as organic waste. Thus, only the items that satisfy UNIEN:13432/2002 regulation are truly biodegradable during the composting process and reduce the risk of organic waste contamination. Figure 6: CIC- compostabile logo (certificated compostable products) Rome, March 06th, 2012

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