Sunday 19 August 2012

Italian Composting of Biopolymers: Organics Recovery

Massimo Centemero, Technical Director, Italian Composting Council (CIC) saw composting as the natural end-of-life option for bioplastics in Italy where 4 million tonnes of organic waste are already composted or anaerobically digested to make 1.2 million tonnes of quality-assured compost annually (2009).  Of the 4 million tonnes, 43% is kitchen waste, 36% is garden waste and 12% is sewage sludge.  80% of the organics are separated at source and since 2010 the kitchen waste must by law be collected in compostable bags made to EU 13432:2000 standards. 

Unfortunately the feed to composting between 2009 and 2011 was, averaged over 50 provinces, contaminated with 5.4% of non-compostables, 75% of which was non-compostable plastic and 20% was disposable diapers.  Interestingly while non-compostable plastic bags accounted for 30% of the total, it was found that the waste in these bags contained 5x as much non-compostable material as the waste in compostable bags.

(from a paper given at the Biopolymer World Conference, Venice, April 2012)

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