Environment Waste Management Solid Waste Management

Ten zero-waste cities: How Capannori inspired other European municipalities on zero waste

Solid Waste Management


Read the jounery of a small Italian community towards zero waste to learn how taking a proactive, holistic approach and involving residents in all stages of policy development can lead to successful waste prevention programs.

Perspectives and insights

  • In 2012, the Pay As You Throw waste tariff was introduced, which brought significant change in the waste management system in the town; the new tariff drove local source segregation rates up to 90 percent.
  • Residents were consulted during the door-to-door collection scheme and other zero waste measures, which was key to the success of the initiatives.
  • Supplying Joraform composting machines to public canteens in Capannori helped them reduce the cost of collecting, transporting and treating organic waste.
  • A high volume of dispos­able nappies in residual waste led the municipality to offer subsidized washable nappies to local parents.
  • The rate of unseparat­ed waste per capita decreased from 340 kg per year in 2006 to 146 kg in 2011, a drop of 57 percent.
  • Two self-service refill stations for milk were opened. It has been enor­mously successful in cutting about 90,000 bottles out of the waste system.

Xoologue - a discussion between Xoo and Moo

Moo: That’s mighty encouraging, Xoo.

Xoo: Yes, Moo, I see many good ideas here. And not at all surprised that they have seen good results too.

Moo: Absolutely. What among the ones mentioned would you consider the most effective, Xoo?

Xoo: Let me hear from your choice first.

Moo: I’d go for the idea to supply washable nappies to parents. Disposable nappies represent a dreadful waste category. Now what about your choice?

Xoo: I’d go for the idea of consulting residents for zero waste measures. Well, Moo, you do not seem to be impressed with my choice.

Moo: I’m indeed not. And there's a reason. These discussions happen all the time, and most times they don’t result in anything tangible except for a feel-good feeing.

Xoo: That’s precisely why I chose that idea, Moo. The municipalities can come up with as many great ideas they wish to, but to get the citizens' buy-in, you need more than just logic. Where the citizens ‘feel good’ and feel that they contributed in some part to the final idea (even if they actually had not), adoption rates for such ideas increases tremendously. In these kinds of situations, it’s not what you do but it’s how you do what you do that’s important.