HomeProgressCircular Economy Package, implemented in Italy in September 2020

Circular Economy Package, implemented in Italy in September 2020

The 'Circular Economy Package', a pioneering reform of the European waste and packaging regulations, is also being implemented in Italy. By means of four legislative decrees, already applied starting from 26 September 2020.

Circular economy in the EU, the principles

THEcircular economy it expresses an economic model where the residues of production and consumption are reintegrated in the production cycles. In a logic of regeneration, reuse and recovery of natural resources. It is invoked in several steps, including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UN Agenda 2030, as a guiding criterion to reduce the anthropic impact on the ecosystem. (1)

Il Circular Economy Package, consists of four reforms, approved on 18.4.18 by the European Parliament:

1) directive (EU) 2018/849, amending Directives 2000/53 / EC relating to end-of-life vehicles, 2006/66 / EC relating to batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and 2012/19 / EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment,

2) dir. (EU) 2018/850, amending Directive 1999/31 / EC on the landfill of waste,

3) dir. (EU) 2018/851, amending Directive 2008/98 / EC on waste,

4) dir. (EU) 2018/852, amending Directive 94/62 / EC on packaging and packaging waste.

Recycling and waste reduction targets

The European legislator has defined precise objectives for recycling and reducing waste to be sent to landfill:

- urban waste. The recycling rate will have to reach 55% by 2025, 60% in 2030, 65% in 2035,

- packaging waste. Increase in recycling, reaching 65% in 2025, 70% by 2030. With diversified objectives by material,

- landfills they will have to receive, by 2035, less than 10% of the waste.

In Italy approximately 170 million tons of waste are produced every year. The circularity rate, although higher than the EU average, remains steady at 17,1%. (2) Packaging waste represents 8% of the total, urban waste less than 20%. The growth of the latter in recent years has however been accompanied by the closure of several incinerators. (3)

Circular economy, implementation in Italy

The implementation of the Circular Economy Package in Italy consists of four decrees:

1) legislative decree 3.9.20 n. 116 on waste(4)

2) Legislative Decree 3.9.20 n. 118, relating to batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, and on waste electrical and electronic equipment(5)

3) Legislative Decree 3.9.20 n. 119, relating to end-of-life vehicles(6)

4) Legislative Decree 3.9.20, n. 121, containing a new organic regulation for the delivery of waste to landfills. (7) With a ban on landfilling, starting from 2030, all waste that is suitable for recycling or other forms of recovery.

Waste, packaging and labeling. Legislative Decree 116/20

The 'waste decree' - Legislative Decree 116/20, officially in force since 26.9.20 - amends the Environmental Code (Legislative Decree 152/06) in the parts relating to waste, packaging and packaging waste. With important innovations for all public and private entities that produce, transport and treat waste.

Packaging labeling - even food - is subject to new regulations (Legislative Decree 116/20, article 3.3). With the obligation to inform end users of packaging, including consumers, about:

a) available return, collection and recovery systems,

b) role of end users in the process of reuse, recovery and recycling of packaging and packaging waste,

c) meaning of the marks affixed to the packaging as they appear on the market.

The information must be provided 'according to the provisions of the legislative decree 19.8.05 n. 195, implementing Directive 2003/4 / EC on public access to environmental information'.

Extended manufacturer responsibility

The responsibility of the producer (Extended Producer Responsibilities, EPR) is extended to 'any natural or legal person who professionally develops, manufactures, transforms, processes, sells or imports products' (Legislative Decree 116/20, art. 178-bis). The decree simplifies the procedures for setting up new EPR systems and establishes a national register of producers.

A financial contribution it is introduced by producers to cover, among others, the costs of separate collection and subsequent transport. In addition to the costs of sorting and processing necessary to achieve EU objectives.

Traceability of waste

The electronic register national waste (RenTri) - established with Legislative Decree 14.12.18 n. 135, replacing the bankruptcy Sistri - is the fulcrum of a new integrated information and management system. The methods for completing and keeping the loading and unloading register and the identification form will be indicated in future implementing decrees.

They are exempt from the obligation to keep the register the companies that collect and transport their own non-hazardous waste and, for non-hazardous waste only, the initial companies and producers with no more than ten employees. The obligation to keep records and forms is reduced from five to three years.

National waste prevention program

The National Program for waste management defines the macro-objectives, criteria and strategic lines to which the Regions and Autonomous Provinces must comply in the elaboration of regional plans (art.until). With explicit reference, among others, to data on waste production broken down by type, quantity and source.

The preventive measures include, inter alia:

- promotion and support of sustainable production and consumption patterns,

- encouragement of the design, manufacture and use of resource efficient products, as well as the use of waste materials in their production.

Food waste prevention

A specific section of the above Plan is dedicated to the 'Food waste prevention program '' (art. 180). Indicators and objectives are defined, qualitative and quantities. In addition to recalling the instruments and measures introduced in the law 19.8.16, n. 166 (cd Gadda law). In particular:

- reduction of food waste production in primary agricultural production, food processing, sale and administration, as well as in homes,

- stimulus to donation of alimony and other forms of redistribution for human consumption. With priority for human use over feed and reworking aimed at obtaining non-food products.

Urban waste, new parameters

The new parameters for the definition of urban waste entail the inclusion in this category of various types of waste classified up to now as special. (8) The definition is relevant for the purposes of preparing for re-use, recycling, and related calculation rules. Without prejudice to the division of responsibilities regarding waste management between public and private actors (art. 183).

The National Environmental Protection System (SNPA) must adopt the guidelines to help producers in the classification of waste codes by 31.12.20. Companies are not obliged to choose the public manager for the management of the waste they produce. If they choose a private operator, they are deducted in proportion to the quantity of waste sent for recovery (Article 238).

Recycling of organic waste

The ministries of the Environment and Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (MiPAAF), the Regions and Autonomous Provinces must give priority to recycling over other methods of organic waste management.

Organic waste must be separated and recycled at source, by 31.12.31, through composting activities on the production site or separate collection, with reusable emptying containers or with certified compostable bags.

The Ministry of the Environment will establish quality levels for the separate collection of organic waste, defining precise criteria to be applied to the relative controls (art. 182-ter).


Without prejudice to the application of criminal law, the waste decree introduces a series of administrative pecuniary sanctions to be applied to non-compliance with its rules. With particular reference to the registration in the National Register of Producers and the failure or incomplete transmission of information data (Article 258).

Dario Dongo and Giulia Torre

Footnotes to the story

(1) The Lansink scale, a paradigm based on the Circular Economy Package, has defined a hierarchy in the management of materials aimed at preventing and minimizing the quantities of waste to be disposed of
(2) See https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/DDN-20190918-2
(3) ISPRA, Urban Waste Report, 2019 editionhttps://www.isprambiente.gov.it/it/archivio/eventi/2019/12/rapporto-rifiuti-urbani-edizione-2019

(4) Legislative Decree 3.9.20 no. 116. Implementation of directive (EU) 2018/851 amending directive 2008/98 / EC on waste and implementation of directive (EU) 2018/852 amending directive 1994/62 / EC on packaging and packaging waste

(5) Implementation of Articles 2 and 3 of Directive (EU) 2018/849, amending Directive 2006/66 / EC (relating to batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators) and Directive (EU) 2012/19 on waste electrical and electronic equipment
(6) Implementation of directive (EU) 2018/849, article 1, amending directive 2000/53 / EC relating to end-of-life vehicles
(7) Implementation of dir. EU 2018/850, which amends Directive 1999/31 / EC on landfills of waste
(8) Definition of municipal waste:
1. unsorted household waste and separate collection waste, including paper and cardboard, glass, metals, plastics, organic waste, wood, textiles, packaging, waste electrical and electronic equipment, waste batteries and accumulators and bulky waste, including mattresses and furniture,
2. unsorted waste and separate collection waste from other sources which are similar in nature and composition to the household waste indicated in the annex L-quater products from the activities listed in the annex L-quinquies,
3. waste from street sweeping and emptying of waste bins,
4. waste of any nature or origin, lying on roads and public areas or on roads and private areas in any case subject to public use or on sea and lake beaches and on the banks of waterways,
5. public green maintenance waste such as leaves, grass clippings and tree pruning, as well as waste resulting from the cleaning of markets,
6. waste from cemetery areas, exhumations and extumulations, as well as other waste from cemetery activities other than those referred to in points 3, 4 and 5

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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Graduated in law, master in European Food Law, she deals with agro-food, veterinary and agricultural legislation. She is a PhD student at the AGRISYSTEM School for the Agri-food System, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, with a thesis on novel food.

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