Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image


Parma proves 70% recycling and 100kg residual waste can be achieved in only 4 years

This case study confirms that ZWE’s proposals for the Circular Economy package can be achieved in very little time

Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) has published today 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% 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 WtE incineration) per capita which was reduced by a staggering 59%, from 283kg to 117kg, in only 4 years. By 2015 the separate collection was raised to 72% 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% separate collection and plans are to continue on the path to zero waste.

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

This case study and the case for a target on residual waste per capita will be presented in Brussels next Wednesday 22nd June by the Councilor for Environment of the city of Parma, Gabriele Folli, in the conference Towards Zero Waste Cities: How local authorities can apply waste prevention policies taking place at the Committee of the Regions.

Rifiuti zero: a Rossano Ercolini il premio Borsellino

Rossano Ercolini, main promoter of the Zero Waste Strategy, received in Pescara on Saturday 7th November the National award dedicated to Paolo Borsellino which celebrated its 20th edition. This prestigious recognition Rossano Ercolini received was created in 1992 by Antonio Caponnetto in the presence of Rita Borsellino, first President of this National award and sister of the magistrate killed during an attempt in 1992.

The award is assigned to Italian personalities whose commitment was dedicated to the promotion of the values of freedom, democracy and legality.

The evaluation Committee recognised to Rossano Ercolini, who also received the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2013, his big commitment to build a possible alternative to the waste management through the implementation of the Zero Waste project. Among the motivations for the award assignment there is the relevant experience of Rossano Ercolini on the ground which is worth to be promoted, defended and implemented, because it raised awareness on the fundamental principles of legality and civilisation. It is a real privilege and a pleasure for me -declared Rossano Ercolini-, that shows how the Zero Waste Strategy doesn’t refer only to the concept of garbage management but even to education, democracy and extraordinary civic commitment.


Download (PDF, 13.02MB)