New case study: Parma proves 70% recycling can be achieved in only 4 years

Source: Zero Waste Europe

Brussels – Zero Waste Europe has published a new case study on the city of Parma, Italy, which highlights how with political will and citizen involvement it is possible to radically reduce residual waste, create jobs and save the taxpayers money.

Parma, with 190,284 inhabitants, had separate collection stagnated around 45 percent for some years. However a citizens-led initiative to move away from waste disposal managed in 2012 to transform waste policies and brought a zero waste plan for Parma.

The new plan copied and improved what is already working well in other towns of the zero waste network; intensive kerbside collection and pay-as-you-throw systems together with lots of education and keeping the system flexible to accomodate further improvements.

The indicator that the town used to measure success was the reduction of residual waste (what is sent for landfilling and/or waste-to-energy incineration) per capita which was reduced by a staggering 59 percent, from 283kg to 117kg, in only 4 years. By 2015 the separate collection was raised to 72 percent and the quality of the materials separated for recycling had also increased.

The new system of collection is more labour intensive which has meant that the number of waste collectors has increased from 77 to 121 with a number of other indirect jobs being created whilst the city has saved €453,736 in comparison with the former system.

But the transition is far from over. By end of 2016 Parma will be generating less than 100kg of residual waste per person and have achieved 80 percent separate collection and plans are to continue on the path to zero waste.

Joan Marc Simon, Director of Zero Waste Europe, commented: “Some spend their time finding excuses not to deliver in 2030; others like the city of Parma prove that a target of 70 percent recycling and 100kg residual waste per capita is achievable in less than 5 years”.

The case study no. 7 – The Story of Parma – is available under

Source: Zero Waste Europe