Seborga is a small municipality in the Liguria region located in the northwest part of Italy, right on the French border. Liguria, like many other Italian regions, has been struggling with a number of difficult issues surrounding waste management and long transports. But there are also success stories, like the one in Seborga. The small municipality with 320 residents has since 2013 completely rearranged its waste management, and by 2015 they managed to recycle as much as 72% of their organic waste. It was four times as much as the year before and the positive trend seem to continue.
Switching to a sustainable system
By installing a Big Hanna T120 and investing in local composting Seborga chose to take their environmental concern and commitment seriously and begin a change over of its entire waste management. The transition began in 2013, and relatively soon the municipality managed to take care of all their organic waste and thus avoid all their former costs for transportation and disposal. Instead they reduced their total waste management costs and gained a valuable by-product they use in municipal green areas.
Organic waste per month during 2016:
Pioneers in Liguria
Enrico Ilariuzzi, Mayor of Seborga, is very pleased with the result of the change towards a more sustainable system.
– We made careful calculations and work plans during several years and that work has led us both to decreasing costs and to lower fees. Furthermore, we have achieved important results in terms of recycling and sustainability.
As the mayor’s assistant secretary, Lara Ficarra has followed the project closely. She has been responsible for following up the project and for quality checks and has only good things to say about the quality of the project and about the produced compost.
– We are on the right track. So far, Seborga is the first municipality in Liguria that have implemented local composting of all the local organic waste, and to carry it out with the Big Hanna T120 has given us excellent results.
Unfortunately, she has seen that the regional and national cuts at subsidies and other financial incentives has made it more difficult for municipals that want to change their waste management. But the cuts have also led to a new approach and the aim to optimize resources. As the economy strengthens in Italy and Europe, she believes that more regions and municipalities will be able to prioritize the issues concerning sustainability and recycling.
The positive results in Seborga have now also led to a shift to differentiated waste fees in the municipality. This is yet another positive step towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly waste management for the residents in the municipality.
Puglia is a region situated at the far southeast part of Italy. During the years 2007-2013 a national and regional funding program was launched to facilitate for the different municipalities to comply with the targets for recycling of organic waste. Part of the funding concerns the upgrading and modernization of waste facilities; and so far over 15 municipalities have applied for funding to build facilities for local composting.
Installation and supervision by Achab Group
Up until January 2017, seven of the municipalities have had their facilities completed. The construction and installation work is done by the Achab Group, the Italian distributor for Big Hanna. They are responsible for building the installation site as well as the foundation and weather protection, they also install the electronics and build storage modules for the compost. It is also the Achab Group who deliver and install the composting machine and the Biofilter from Big Hanna as well as handle all information and implementation concerning the waste collection and composting process.
An optimal solution
Local collection of the organic waste and composting in a joint composting machine has proven to be the optimal solution for these small municipalities with a population of 800 up to 12 000 inhabitants. Many of them are remotely located with long transports to the nearest landfill as a result. The new system with composting machines now make it possible for these communities to take care of all their organic waste in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.
Safe and odour free process
The composting machine is installed with a larger hopper with a screw conveyor to facilitate the loading. The larger hopper is also equipped with a weighing equipment so that the municipalities can control the amount of food waste that is loaded. An Internet connection and a display shows constant information about the continuous process. The only emissions are water vapour and carbon dioxide. Thanks to the effective Biofilter the whole process is completely odourless. The composting machine rotates every hour to aerate the material and by adding sawdust the material gets drier which leads to effective decomposing. After approximately 90 days, the waste is reduced by 80-85% and broken down into compost, and let out at the end of the machine. The compost is then put into wooden boxes to stabilize, mature and become a fully usable fertilizer. A certain amount of compost may be obtained free of charge by residents while the rest are spread in municipal parks and plantations.
There are so far successful projects in seven municipalities: Anzano di Puglia, Sant’Agata di Puglia, Panni, Ugento, Miggiano, Montesano Salentino and Lizzanello; all of them funded by the Puglia region. The aim is to significantly reduce the cost of organic waste management that up until the changeover represented 50% of the total waste cost.
Each composting facility can accommodate 130 tons of organic waste per year; waste that previously had to be transported and handled at centrally located landfills. The conversion to local composting is one important action by the region to reduce its overall environmental impact, creating a waste cycle and start applying the principles of a circular economy.