Italian waste tariff "will promote recycling"

Environment ministry proposes per capita waste generation element in new charging scheme

Italy's environment ministry has given details of a proposed new charging system for municipal waste intended to encourage recycling and reduce the country's reliance on landfills. The charge is designed to reflect not only the number of people living in a property or its size, but also the amount of waste they produce.

Due to come into force on 1 January 1999, the tariff would replace a current charge based entirely on the size of the property occupied. Under the ministry's proposal, the new tariff will be based on a fixed element, relating to each municipality's waste management costs, and a variable element, depending on the amount of waste produced per resident.

Because the vast majority of Italy's municipalities are currently unable to measure per capita waste generation, the draft text allows for an interim charging mechanism that ignores the amount of waste produced and is simply based on the size and number of occupants of residential properties and on type of business for other activities.

These temporary calculations would only apply during a transitional phase of two years. From 2001, all municipalities, regardless of their waste management costs, would have to introduce the variable element in their calculations. For those that have still not organised a proper measurement system, the calculation would be based on "presumptive parameters" to be set by each municipality in accordance with its per capita waste production.

The transitional phase should last three years for municipalities covering more than 85% of their waste management costs, five years for those with a coverage of between 55% and 85%, and eight years for the municipalities which only managed to cover less than 55% of their costs. All municipalities with less than 5,000 residents would be granted an eight-year extension beyond the 1 January 1999 deadline.

The draft ministerial decree is currently being examined by the joint state-region commission, where ENDS Daily understands it is likely to undergo significant revision. The environment ministry intends to issue a final text before the end of July.

Follow Up:
Italian environment ministry, tel: +39 6 70361

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