Thursday, July 29, 2010

Impressive Recycling

The recycling system is one aspect of the new surburb where I live, just outside of Padua, that has been most noticeable. Its autonomous government administration takes recycling very seriously.

Things were a bit different in Padua. I used to just take my recycling bucket to the two giant bins that asked me to divide into the following categories: yellow for paper products and blue for tins, plastic and glass. Sometimes there was also a small brown bin for umido (organic waste). Then at a nearby spot, you could open the big metal trash bins for all other non-recyclable trash. The plastic bins, especially for paper, would get emptied about once every 2 weeks and you hoped that the bin wasn't already overflowing 5 days before the trucks came by.

A picture from a former post:

Now in Noventa, I've been presented with a near rainbow of recycle bins.
YELLOW for paper
ORANGE for plastic
BLUE for tins, cans and glass
GRAY for non-recylables
GREEN for organic
BROWN for grass and plant clippings

I don't understand why everything is colored differently except the 2 blue and gray containers that almost look the same color, especially after dark. You need to read the fine print on the bin to understand the difference. Did they run out of available colors? What about trendy purple, for example? The tins could go there.

Anyway, they are all lined up at the foot of my building or hidden within the property of each of my neighbors' individual houses. You have to put the correct bins out on the right days, according to the official calendar provided by the city. This is nothing different from many American towns, I presume. But there is barely enough space in the lousy 2 bins we have for the non-recyclables. This is especially when I consider I live with another 8 families. The paper bins get filled in record time, too, but we have 3 of them.

Not only do we have the above-listed divisions, but my new town has yet another category: bins for used diapers. There are so many young families brimming with children, and inevitably their thousands of pannolini (diapers), that you see these special containers dotting the municipality.

This system is in stark contrast to places like Naples, which had its citizens burning excess trash that was overflowing in the streets from the lack of pick-up at the normal city on-street trash bins. This was big news and considered a national disaster in 2008. Information also came out that very little recycling was done at all in that area, therefore aggravating the situation of general trash collection for the city. There was just too much trash and awful trash management (maybe due to the Naples' mafia involvement in waste removal?).

Meanwhile we are here in the Northeast, dividing and dragging out bins to the streets after dusk almost every night. So far F and I haven't had to do it for our building but we will be on duty for the whole month of September. That will be "fun", I'm sure. In the end, we'll be doing our civic duty.


  1. What do they do with the diapers the waste hauler collect there?
    Do you know if they recycle them and if so, do they work with a company called Knowaste?
    Or are they composted somehow?

  2. The recycling system in my new suburban area near Padua has been a noticeable improvement compared to my previous experience in the city. Here, the autonomous government administration places a strong emphasis on recycling, which is evident in the efficient and comprehensive system in place. In Padua, I used to sort my recyclables into different categories like paper, tins, plastic, and glass, and dispose of non-recyclable waste in separate bins. However, the collection frequency was limited, and overflowing bins were not uncommon. With the new system, recycling has become more convenient and effective, contributing to a cleaner environment. Additionally, initiatives like diaper recycling technology could further enhance sustainability efforts in our community, providing eco-friendly solutions for managing diaper waste.