Today is Global Recycling Day, established in 2018 by the Global Recycling Foundation to highlight the fact that sorting waste correctly gives it a new lease of life, helps to avoid wasting resources and is one of the most important ways to protect the planet.
The Italian national packaging consortium (CONAI), which coordinates the recovery activities of six material consortia (steel, aluminium, paper/cardboard, wood, plastic and glass), today released estimates for 2020: although the pandemic has caused consumption to plummet and, as a result, the amount of packaging sent for recycling has fallen by 7%, the consortia have still managed to give new life to 1% more waste than in 2019. In fact, although there has been a decrease in waste production due mainly to the contraction in the commercial and industrial sectors, the growth in urban separate waste collection has partly compensated for this reduction. It is therefore estimated that 9 million tonnes of packaging was recycled in 2020 and estimates for 2021, even if the pandemic continues to make its effects felt, are that this could reach 9.5 million.
The data collected in the survey “Safe and sustainable packaging: perceptions”, conducted by CONAI in collaboration with the Waste Watcher International Observatory confirms a greater willingness of Italians to recycle; according to this survey, packaging and its environmental characteristics are elements that condition consumers’ purchasing choices (for 73% of respondents). For 71% of respondents, a product is sustainable, first of all, if its packaging is recyclable or if it is made of recycled material (69%). If the packaging is not recyclable, 1 Italian out of 4 will still buy it; 47% will buy it, but not willingly; 22% will change their mind and opt for a product with recycled or recyclable packaging. In addition to recyclability, 39% of Italians appreciate packaging with reusable or resealable features: a sign of the awareness of how much the reuse of packaging is an important lever of circular economy and environmental protection.