16 percent less waste during 9 years: Sardinia – a model for zero waste island

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Sardinien, CalaGonone (Foto: fradellafra / Pixabay)

Brussels — Over the years, the island of Sardinia has served as model for zero waste thanks to their incredible recycling efforts and local initiatives. Through active collaboration between the people and the government, Sardinia has taken major steps in tackling waste head on. Their efforts make Sardinia one of the brightest examples of municipal zero waste management for high density touristic locales.

Backed and pushed by Zero Waste Sardinia and Zero Waste Italy, Sardinia has implemented a door-to-door separate collection system where the municipalities themselves are held accountable and are either punished or rewarded for the amount of waste they bear. Through this initiative, Sardinia was able to achieve a regional recycling rate of 56 percent back in 2015. The 2015 report on Sardinian Urban Waste Management shows that, out of 377 municipalities, a staggering 206 have achieved a recycling rate above 65 percent while 47 hold a rate above 75 percent. It’s clear that because of these efforts, Sardinia’s overall amount of waste sent for disposal is decreasing.

Incredibly, Sardinia has reduced waste generation by 16 percent (143.724 tonnes) over a span of just 9 years. Delving into the specifics of the 56 percent from the 717.242 tonnes that have been separately collected shows that Sardinia displays considerable growth in collection efforts on almost all fronts. Each year, through greater municipal effort and increased community involvement, more zero waste learning opportunities are available in schools, more locally organized meetings centered around waste are popping up, and more information about zero waste is being shared between Sardinians, ultimately leading to their success in continually reducing their overall MSW.

Sardinia has shown tthat no matter the insularity or the tourist pressure, achieving zero waste starts at the local level. They’ve shown us that by incentivizing local governments to tackle waste, a country’s zero waste goals become more ‘tangible’ for the people as they’re able to feel a direct connection with what’s happening in their very own community and in turn, are more motivated to make the extra effort.

Many countries in Europe are spending large sums on waste management but still underachieving when it comes to recycling. It just goes to show that it’s not about the money spent, rather, it’s about the message spread and the people empowered.

Source: Zero Waste Europe