Italy gets the world's first agreement for the collection of compostable bioplastic packaging
CONAI and Biorepack, together with ANCI – the Association of Italian Municipalities, signed the technical annex which regulates the collection, transport and processing of compostable bioplastic packaging waste together with municipal food waste. Municipalities and delegated operators that sign the partnership agreement will receive financial payments to cover the costs of collection, transport and processing. The higher the quality of the waste collected, the greater the payments that will be made
Milan, 28 October 2021 - A historic agreement, which allows our country to take a step forward in separate waste collection by encouraging the correct disposal of a material that is becoming increasingly widespread in Italian homes. This is how CONAI and the Biorepack Consortium define the transitional technical annex for biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging that has just been signed.
“Not even a year has passed since Biorepack was established: in a short space of time we made it operational and have now defined its relationship with ANCI,” said CONAI President Luca Ruini. “This is an innovative technical annex, because for the first time it extends the scope of the CONAI system to include organic waste. Remember that, when separate collection of food waste is improved in a municipality, there is also usually an overall improvement in the collection of traditional dry waste.”
“This document is a fundamental tool to start an effective dialogue with municipalities in order to promote the processing of compostable bioplastic packaging together with food waste,” said Biorepack President Marco Versari. “Utilising food waste with compostable bioplastics to produce compost makes an important contribution to maintaining soil health, a resource under serious threat from pollution and indiscriminate exploitation, and to reducing climate-changing emissions.”
“The agreement signed with CONAI and the Biorepack Consortium marks an important step forward in the system of bioplastic waste management by municipalities, but it is also a fundamental element for environmental sustainability and the circular economy. This is an area that ANCI has prioritised from the very beginning in order to comply with EU and national regulations,” stressed the president of the ANCI National Council, Enzo Bianco.
“The agreement makes it possible to define the correct management method for recovery of material in return for fees paid by the new consortium recognised by the Ministry and improves the environmental impact by increasing the share of compostable and biodegradable material.”
The 20-page technical annex sets out all of the obligations and commitments that will be incumbent on both the Biorepack Consortium and the municipalities or their delegates who sign the partnership agreement.
The main commitments made by the parties relate to three aspects. Promoting the management of biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging waste together with municipal food waste. Maximising the quantity of waste sent for organic recycling. And finally, reducing the presence of non-compostable materials in municipal food waste that hinders the recycling of compostable bioplastic packaging waste to the point of preventing it, thereby increasing the processing costs borne by public authorities and therefore the community.
The document also sets out the payments that will be due to partners – municipalities and/or delegated operators – for the collection, transport and processing of biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging together with municipal food waste.
In particular, partners will have to promote the management of biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging waste, certified and compliant with EN 13432, together with municipal food waste. They must also maximise the quantity of organic waste sent for recycling and encourage the reduction of non-compostable materials in food waste. The aim is to promote both the quantity, and in particular the quality, of the waste collected.
The focus on the quality of the collection of compostable bioplastic packaging waste is also demonstrated by the payments that are made to municipalities or their delegates. “The higher the quality of separately collected municipal food waste, the higher the payments that will be made by Biorepack,” explained Gino Schiona, Biorepack's general manager. “The technical annex specifies four quality bands, dependent on the presence of extraneous matter, meaning impurities found in the collected food waste.” Those who limit impurities to within 5% will receive €127 per tonne. As the percentage of impurities rises, the payment will decrease to a minimum of €63 per tonne. No payment will be made for waste containing over 20% impurities.
The agreement also provides for the payment of medium/long-distance transport costs incurred by partners (which will be paid in full) together with processing costs if included or separately upon presentation of appropriate documentation, or through a per-kilometre payment for distances of more than 25 km and up to 100 km, from the centre of the collection area to the processing plant, with whichever is lower being included in the waste collection payments.
The organic processing payments to be made to partners will cover 100% of the costs incurred for the processing of compostable bioplastic packaging waste upon presentation of appropriate documentation.
ANCI and CONAI also undertake to promote training and communication campaigns for this sector in cooperation with the municipalities and/or partners. The aim is to ensure this material is recognised by all actors in the supply chain – including through appropriate labelling – and that it is disposed of correctly with municipal organic waste.
Finally, a joint body known as ANCI-BIOREPACK will be set up to monitor, assess and regulate technical issues related to the new technical annex, composed of three representatives from each of the parties. The inaugural meeting will be convened within a month.
BIOREPACK, the National Consortium for the Organic Recycling of Biodegradable and Compostable Plastic Packaging, is a non-profit consortium under private law, with articles of association approved by a decree from the Ministry for Ecological Transition in agreement with the Ministry for Economic Development, with the aim of ensuring development of the differentiated collection and organic recycling of bioplastics together with the organic fraction of waste (article 182 c of the Consolidated Environment Law - Legislative Decree no. 152/2006). It is made up of more than 200 companies active in the production of raw materials, processing and industrial use of UNI EN 13432-certified compostable bioplastic packaging, as well as its organic recycling.
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