Ronchi Decree and L.D. 52/2006

The Ronchi Decree defines waste as “any substance or object which the owner discards, or intends or is required to discard”. First of all this definition assumes that any goods are destined, sooner or later, to become waste. Secondly it can be deduced that the transformation from goods to waste depends mainly on the consumers’ choice. Waste is classified according to its origin, into Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and Special Waste (SW) and, depending on its characteristics and dangerous nature, into Dangerous Waste (DW) if the waste contains at least one of the substances listed in the attachments of the Decree, and into Non-Dangerous waste if the waste does not contain any of the said substances. For example, batteries, expired drugs and exhaust oil are considered DW.
If, instead, we look at waste management, we must remember that any treatment will only lead to a transformation of the waste and/or its transfer from a physical state to another, however in no cases does the treatment lead to its destruction (the law on conservation of mass). Therefore the most sustainable behaviour with regard to waste, is to reduce the amount upstream, in other words to produce as little waste as possible trying to use each thing a number of times (as in the past). And these were the principles that were followed when the Decree was written. In order to reach these aims, it is fundamental to inform the citizens and the producers, and make them aware. Wherever it is not possible to reduce the amount upstream, or in case the materials cannot be re-utilized, waste that cannot be recovered must be separated from waste that can be sent for recycling.
Legislative Decree 152 of 2006, became effective on 22 April 2006, and at the same time it also cancelled the Ronchi Decree. Legislative Decree 152 of 2006, regulates waste management, packaging and other special categories, such as electronic waste, hospital waste, etc. The area of application of this Decree regards waste management and reclamation of polluted sites, also in fulfilment of the EEC Directives. The management activity has the task of guaranteeing a high level of protection of the environment and efficient controls, bearing in mind the specific nature of dangerous waste, and also the protection of natural resources. Waste must be recovered or disposed of without any danger for human health and without using processes or methods that could jeopardize the environment. The Decree promotes, as a fundamental point, the prevention and reduction of waste production, and of poisonous waste, in particular through the development of clean technologies, techniques to eliminate dangerous substances in waste with the scope of favouring the recovery of the same; and lastly a decrease in the quantity of waste. Finally, the measures aimed at the recovery of waste by reutilization, recycling of the same or any other direct action, must be oriented mainly at using waste as a source of energy. Among the principal novelties of the Decree, there are measures to increase separate waste collection, which includes a definition of the aims (the target is 65% by 2012).

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