Waste Disposal and Recycling in Italy

Garbage, rubbish, waste and trash: find out about waste collection and recycling in Italy...

Waste management in Italy is managed at a municipal level in accordance with national legislation, and differs widely from area to area.

Typically, rubbish is collected by a waste disposal company contracted to the comune (municipal authority). Following garbage crises in the south of the country municipalities are increasing access to recycling services and domestic collection. While kerbside collection schemes with mandatory separation are more established in the North, much of Southern Italy continues to rely on bottle banks and communal landfill containers.

Funding for the system comes from a refuse disposal/garbage tax. The TARSU tax is due to be been replaced by the TARES system, but implementation is not yet universal. The TARES bill is issue annually by the Comune under the title 'Avviso di pagamento tribute sui refiuti e sui servize – tares anno 20XX – rate unica a Conguaglio.'

Most Comune’s have their own websites with notices to residents regarding local rates, the TARES system and how to pay the tax.

TARSU/TARES is paid by the occupants or owners of a property. In rental properties, the tenant is responsible unless the contract specifically states otherwise. In larger properties, the garbage tax may be collected by the building administrator as part of the spese condominiali (monthly maintenance fees).

In municipalities that do not offer kerbside collection, household rubbish is placed in large black roadside bins that can be found on residential streets. The times at which these can be used is usually restricted to late evenings and early mornings, particularly in the summer months. These bins are emptied by the municipality’s garbage contractors on a weekly basis.

For disposal purposes, the most common categories of rubbish are:

  • Rifiuti indifferenziati - non-recyclable waste, landfill
  • Raccolta differenziati - recylable waste
  • Rifiuti organici - organic waste

Guidelines for recycling can be found on the website of the municipality’s garbage contractor. Organic waste is only treated as a separate category in municipalities that offer kerbside collection. In other municipalities, recycling bins can be found either next to roadside landfill containers or in larger recycling banks.

Bulky waste items can be collected by the local garbage contractor upon arrangement with the municipality. This may be provided free of charge.

Further Information