Years ago, approx on 2003, I met a manager of a very important garbage recycling factory in Italy.

This person used these words to mean the importance of what we contemptuously call “rubbish”: <It’s more precious than oil or gas, as it can produce quality energy and it’s daily produced by people without any extraordinary effort. If recycled properly, it’s one of the main energy sources ever. We already have an apparatus to extract a liquid from organic waste which is compatible with Diesel engines.>

We can easily confess, all of us… at least one time in our life we threw in the bin something we missed so much, later on. We are compulsive doing shopping but also on getting rid of things, worldwide.

For the “throwers” party, from Japan, Mary Kondo . She created a kind of dogma on eliminating objects [and sometimes people, as she did with her husband]. But we know Japanese can have beautiful procedures for everything, it’s their charme …

For the “conservative” [literally!] wing, we have a plenty of representative … From the crowd we can mention Nelson Molina, a man who created a collection of random items picked up from the New York Sanitation “stocks”. This selection created along decades, that he calls “Treasure in the Trash”, is now a sort of Museum in NYC. Basically Mr. Molina confessed several times to be amazed by the good state of conservation the items he picked up were, also considering their variety and original/exotic design.

In general terms, I would say it’s important to not buy things we don’t need, but it’s also crucial to properly get rid of what we don’t like/use anymore. Something can be sold or become a donation to others [and no, I am not talking about the poisonous stock of things we don’t like and we wanna discharge as fake gifts to people we don’t really care about … ], other items should go straight to the trash [to be possibly recycled].

So again, we are responsible for what we have and also for what we don’t wanna have anymore.

Garbage disposal can be an excellent gauge of social awareness in a Country. Let’s give a look in the European Community.

For example Germany has a quite attentive politic on recycling. I visited Lübeck on 2007, and at that time it was already a mecca of recycling. Waste waters are used to create low voltage light for public lighting. As waste management is primarily a matter of education and organization, German citizens are progressively educated/engaged, through specific information campaigns.

Ireland’s waste management <has improved greatly over the last two decades. 92% of its municipal waste went to landfill in 1995. This reduced to 42% in 2013. EU waste policy has been central in bringing about this change. However, despite much progress Ireland faces challenges in meeting EU waste targets for End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs) and Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW)> [source]. As you can see from the below picture [waste collection label] and the attached link link, in the Green Island there are several companies and options for garbage disposal, with specific rules to follow and charges to pay.

Ireland waste bin label charge

Italy, which should be the state of art on garbage disposal due to its image of Country full of beauty and history, unfortunately it’s years behind many other Countries …

>On 2004 the European Commission reported it was taking action against Italy, for 28 breaches of EU laws on the environment [source].

>On 2014 Italians produced an aerage of 488 kg of waste/person [European Union waste production report 2012-2014].

>On 2015 Italy was officially among the Countries to send [I believe Italy was even paying for this … ] garbage to Germany, which was glad for the gift.

As Italian, what can I say … ?!

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”. George Bernard Shaw.


Disclaimer: Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, places, brands or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.