Zero waste: Italian inspiration

As a UK social business, Recycling Lives tends to report on developments in the recycling field within British communities – but we’re well aware that great things happen elsewhere!

We were interested to learn about Capannori, a town in Italy that, according to an article in the Independent European Daily Express, became a “trendsetter and leader” as Europe’s first Zero Waste town. This doesn’t mean the town recycles all of its rubbish yet – but it fully intends to do so by 2020. After all, ahead of target, it is already recycling 82% of its waste!

Capannori’s Zero Waste movement started in 2007, ten years after the town’s citizens began to recycle their rubbish following their opposition to the construction of a waste incinerator nearby. Residents sparked off a sustainability drive that ensured local people knew about the alternative: a proper recycling system involving separate collections.

The local community became so committed to recycling that the town improved rapidly, and word spread. As a result, millions of people in Italy now separate their recyclable waste into different coloured bags and put them into different bins for collection.

The rest of Europe started to catch on, too. Today, the household recycling collections in local authority areas up and down the UK are almost taken for granted. But it was not always the case, and Europe has the small Italian town of Capannori to thank for its pioneering efforts!

Recycling Lives is also a leader, having undergone huge expansion during the past few years; this expansion has been characterised by a drive to minimise waste and promote reuse over recycling, and our operations have been behind the creation of a social welfare charity and our status as an award-winning commercial recycler.

Like the citizens and local government of Capannori, we understand that minimising waste is not just about separating and collecting different types of it. To drive sustainability, people’s attitudes and lifestyles need to change. This is why, at Recycling Lives, we offer alternatives, and explain why these alternatives provide better solutions.

For example, our manufacturing processes have been developed to convert waste plastics into beams for construction, and waste glass into tiles. Doing this is good for the environment because the materials used are diverted from landfill, which is harmful and costly.

At Recycling Lives, we realise that waste is a valuable resource, and that jobs as well as new products can be created from it. As part of our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, we make it a priority to boost the local economy in every area in which we operate.

In addition to this, we provide opportunities for people to undertake work placements and training on our sites. Many of our placements are carried out by Residents of our social welfare charity, which our commercial activities directly fund. The charity supports homeless people to transform their lives with a six-stage holistic programme.

If you would like to share in the success of our pioneering social business, it’s very easy. Simply hire us for your waste management and recycling needs!