The “Odeon” cinema in Florence was literally packed. Spectacular! The Italian premiere of TRASHED by english director Candida Brady – a wonderful film with crude images and at the same time a “poetic” style – raised higher interest than expected. A perfect organization of the “Coordinamento dei comitati della Piana” with many associations – including Zero Waste Italy, ANPAS and Medicina Democratica, Municipality of Greve in Chianti (province of Florence). A BIG EVENT … LEAVING A SIGN.
Jeremy Irons, the Oscar-winning actor, explores the world’s most environmentally polluted places to reveal the extent our rubbish is affecting us and our planet. In the documentary there are others protagonists like Captain Moore, Paul Connett orVyvyan Howard, which captivate the viewers. Great directing and interpretation.
In one more proof that the Zero Waste (R)evolution is spreading in Italy Paul Connett with Alberto Bencistà and Rossano Ercolini opened the screening receiving a very warm support from the audience that packed the room.
This movie will soon be “integrated” with new cultural and artistic initiatives (Publication of ZW book in the United States similar to the book recently published in Italy).
Meanwhile, the municipality of MANOPELLO, in the Perugia province (about 7,000 inhabitants) will adopt Zero Waste Program in February. Zero Waste italian municipalities, activistes and citizens are real protagonists of ” Zero Waste-(R)evolution in Progress”.
There are 119 Zero Waste municipalities in Italy alone! Many more are getting ready to join soon!
A study commissioned by GAIA concludes that in some member states such as Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Holland and the UK there is already more incineration capacity than non-recyclable waste generated and warns that plans to increase incineration capacity pose an “environmental and an economic threat”.
According to the study this incineration overcapacity is increasing waste shipments in the EU which undermines recycling “especially in those countries that are more far away from achieving them”.
This is particularly worrying when the Resource Efficiency Roadmap of the European Union claims to want to “reduce energy recovery -incineration- to non-recyclable waste”. Consequently, GAIA says “If the European Commission is to maintain its commitment to limit incineration to non-recyclables by 2020, the strategy should be to close incinerators and not to build new ones. The objectives of the Resource Efficiency Roadmap and recycling targets won’t be achieved unless the European Commission tightly controls the European incineration capacity”.
This statement was backed by Hartmut Hoffmann from Friends of the Earth Germany who said “”In Germany the objectives of the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe are nothing but empty words, because there are hardly any obstacles against building new incineration plants, and the recycling targets of packaging material are still too low.”
There is a clear lack of coordination between member states and the European Commission as to how many incinerators should the EU have, yet with the new Waste Framework Directive the market is European albeit unregulated. The study implies that the experience of leaving it to the market to shape the incineration supply is not working because the market is too much influenced by perverse incentives, mostly coming from the EU level.
On this point Shlomo Dowen from UKWiN said “The European Commission has warned the United Kingdom to pursue reuse and recycling rather than overcapacity of incineration, and has noted that: ‘Countries like Denmark and Switzerland are burning much more than they should and that’s not good’. However, the Government has not even been monitoring the situation in the UK, despite the fact that there is already more incineration capacity in the UK than genuinely residual waste,”
Indeed European legislation gives green subsidies and primes for part of the energy generated when burning waste -i.e. paper- or it has been also funding many incinerators in Europe when investment in recycling was lagging behind. Hence, the investors are building incineration capacity not based on how much waste will be generated in the region in the next years but rather how to get EU loans and primes for generation of “renewable energy”. The result is more waste travelling long distances, more taxpayers money to finance unsustainable machines and less recycling and jobs.
For the future of Zero Waste in Europe and for the sake of coherence and credibility of the EU policy let’s hope the European Commission takes responsibility and tightens the incineration supply in Europe so that it stops undermining recycling.
The councilor for the environment of the town of Capannori, Alessio Ciacci, has been voted Personaggio Ambiente 2012 in Italy. Capannori, province of Lucca, Italy, was the first town in Europe to declare the goal of Zero Waste in 2008. Since then it has been at the forefront of innovative and radical best practices in waste collection, treatment and prevention. From the City Hall Alessio has been a paramount piece to make this happen.
This represents a victory for the Zero Waste movement in Italy but also in the rest of Europe and the world. The basis of Capannori’s success has been citizen participation and the collaboration between politicians such as Alessio and commited citizens. As Alessio puts it “Politics is only politics if it manages to raise awareness, if it encourages citizen participation, if it manages to increase the protagonism of the communitty … Utopy is not a dream of a few idealists but something to be built with everyday choices and actions, taking responsibility for every little thing”.