A town that make a difference by Anna Cesca
Great to have another article from a Ca Foscari, University of Venice postgrad student. This time it’s the turn of Anna Cesca who tells us about the beautiful Italian town of Ponte nelle Alpi, recycling and doing its bit for sustainability.
Italians aren’t famous for being examples of sustainability, but there is a small town in the Nord of Italy that is making a difference. Ponte nelle Alpi, a small town with 8.500 inhabitants, is the Italian town with the highest rate of recycling for the fourth consecutive year. But what is its secret? It must be the way it encourages and involves all the population.
This project of “Green Economy” started in 2007; in that year the town recorded only 22,4% of separated waste, today it records 88,6%. If we focus only in the unseparated rubbish, it has decreased from 3.000 tons of 2006 to 250 tons of 2012 (minus 91,5%) , five years ago 348 kg went to the landfill, now every citizen produces only 29 kg.
This project has also encouraged and created new jobs. How has been it possible? Because the total costs have decreased from 950,000 Euro to 833,000 Euro and this saving permits a reinvestment to create new jobs and to improve services.
They transform unproductive costs in productive costs; this is very important because it assures that sustainable development benefits not only for the future but also for the present.
How does the system work? Each family has a calendar and some containers, in arranged days operators go to the houses, they empty the bins and check what is inside. They don’ t give fines but they leave stickers with their advice.
Another important thing is “Ecocentro”, a place where people bring other waste which containers aren’t provided; there are 34 different kinds of separation.
Moreover, a group of women create an exchange centre, place where mums can exchange clothes, toys and other things for babies; a network of solidarity and socialization for the families.
Thanks to this project of green economy also the tax paid by the citizens has been dropped and the more citizen separates, the less he pays and if he makes domestic composting he has another bonus of 20% on the tax.
But this project hasn’t only reduced costs but it creates a network of cooperation among the population. All this makes “Ponte nella Alpi” a beautiful business, this is an example of how small practices can make a difference; if all Italian towns follow this example it would create 200.000 new jobs.
Darren Hoad B.A (Hons.), M.A. M. Phil.
IEMA Certified Sustainability Practitioner CSR-P
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