Paper and Board Collection, Recycling, and Recovery in Italy in 2021

A review of the results contained in this 27th annual report highlights that paper and board recycling doesn’t stop, but rather runs faster and faster. As far as packaging recycling rates are concerned, Italy reached and exceeded, as early as in 2020, the 85% threshold, which corresponds to the target set by the European Union for 2030. But Comieco’s philosophy does not include resting on laurels. Continuing to improve is rather our main goal, which drove our operations during this past year.

Another improvement was recorded in separate paper and board collection in our Country in 2021: +3.2% vs. 2020, a year that, as we all know, suffered the impact of the toughest part of the Covid-19 emergency. In 2021 the joint effort of the citizens, the Cities, and the operators allowed to surpass the 60 kg threshold of collected material per inhabitant at national level for the first time. Moreover, the amounts allocated by Comieco to the Italian Cities under the agreements increased by 67 million EUR (+44% vs. 2020).

Also interesting to note is the consumption of paper for recycling within the national boundaries, which recorded a 16% increase and surpassed the 6 million tons threshold for the first time. Recovered paper today accounts for 62% of the total fibres used by the Italian paper mills, a figure that earns our Country the second place in the European ranking (after Germany), and the first if the increase rate is considered. The net balance of paper for recycling exports is 948thousand tons, i.e. 68% less than in 2020.

What does it mean? It means that household recycling is improving and feeding a virtuous circular economy model also in logistic terms. These are amazing results, which we owe to the engagement of the whole Country: of those that collect and those that recycle, as well as of those that process secondary raw materials into new products and packaging.

Lastly, for the first time in 2021 the contract terms of the fifth cycle of the ANCI-CONAI Agreement, launched in mid-2020, were implemented throughout the 12 months. The Cities under the agreements received economic considerations worth more than 218 million EUR to take charge of 2.5 million tons of material (equal to approximately 70% of the overall municipal paper and board collection).

This means approximately 67 million EUR more than in 2020 (+44%) vs. an increase by approximately 84thousand tons (+3.4% vs. 2020) of the amounts managed by Comieco, adding up to the new unit considerations for packaging and to the updated approaches to use similar fractions, which brought significant benefits to collection.

The question is now: what can we expect for the future? The paper pipeline is to take this opportunity with measures in two areas.

The first is the gap between the South and the Centre-North of the Country, which needs to be filled. This process is already under way, but it needs to be supported and accelerated, as far as possible. Hitting the target requires implementing focused solutions to ensure support to the cities that show broad margins for growth, both in terms of volumes and of quality of the collected material, i.e. what drives the recycling process.

This relates to the second point, which concerns the ability to make the most of the flows. We need to address, on one hand, the demand for materials with higher and higher manufacturing standards and, on the other the existence of a growing amount of new composite pulp-based materials, which require dedicated processing approaches to ensure the recovery both of the cellulose fibre and of the other components.

Innovation, determination, and team work are the must-have ingredients to cope with the present and future challenges.


Questo sito utilizza cookie tecnici solo per offrire un'ottimale navigazione di questo sito. Per maggiori informazioni consultare la Cookie Policy.
This website uses technical cookies only to offer optimal navigation of this website. For more information read the Cookie Policy.