Waste management and legislation

Up to the Seventies, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) was collected without any separation, and it was disposed prevalently in non-controlled dumps. As an alternative to the direct disposal of waste in the ground, thermal treatment or incineration was used. In Italy, the concept of recycling and recovery of materials through separate waste collection began only in the 90s. In this period also laws regulating waste disposal in the dumps were issued. In Italy a legislative measure, which was very important from the point of view of waste disposal, was Legislative Decree n. 22 dated 1997, better known as the “Ronchi Decree”, from the name of the Minister who signed the law. The more important aspect of this decree is that it represented a change in the legislation regarding all the regulations on waste. Practically, the philosophy of the decree is based on the belief that pollution produced by waste must be coped with by decreasing the total amount of waste produced, and not only by the simple disposal of waste in the dumps. At present, the Ronchi Decree has been superseded and cancelled by Legislative Decree n. 152 dated 2006, subsequently followed by Legislative Decree n. 205, dated 3 December 2010 – in force from 25 December 2010 – implementing European Directive 2008/98/EC on waste in the Italian legislation.

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