21 Jun 2024

Written by

Zero Waste Italy

Calatafimi Segesta promotes a future without single-use plastics on World Environment Day

Cities & Communities

On World Environment Day, the municipality of Calatafimi Segesta in Sicily hosted a conference on June 5th to address the environmental dangers posed by single-use plastics and explore viable alternatives. This event was organised by Zero Waste Italy in the frame of the European project Elevating Reuse in Cities (ERIC) which aims to reduce cities’ dependence on single-use materials and promote reuse.

The conference tackled significant societal challenges presented by single-use plastics, such as waste management, public health, and civic responsibility. Patrizia Lo Sciuto, Vice President of Zero Waste Italy, emphasised the need to shift from disposable to reusable solutions, highlighting the extended responsibility of producers in finding sustainable alternatives.

Francesco Gruppuso, Mayor of Calatafimi Segesta, noted the municipality’s long-standing commitment to environmental policies and its remarkable success since implementing a Zero Waste strategy in 2011. This strategy includes recycling, composting, reuse, repair, and redesign of products while explicitly excluding waste incineration. Read the journey of Calatafimi Segesta.

The municipality has already achieved significant milestones, including:

  • A 97% rate of separate waste collection
  • The acquisition of a “Plastic Eater” machine funded by the Italian Ministry of Environment
  • The establishment of an “Intelligent Ecological Island” and Textile Reuse Center through the Italy-Tunisia trans-border project “Re-Né”
  • The upcoming launch of a Municipal Collection Center and the transition from “Tari” to the PAYT (Pay As You Throw) system

Calatafimi Segesta recognizes the key role of environmental education in schools to foster greater awareness among families and emphasises the need for high-quality recycling alongside citizens’ efforts, necessitating investment in appropriate facilities while excluding incinerators. Cooperative efforts between the municipal administration and citizens have led to impressive waste management results.

As a member of the ERIC project, Calatafimi Segesta is currently evaluating additional preventive measures to enhance their existing Zero Waste Strategy.

Laura Lo Presti, head of Zero Waste Municipalities for Zero Waste Italy, outlined the ERIC project’s goals, which include implementing Plastic Prevention Plans and promoting reuse systems. She suggested practical measures for municipalities to take waste prevention actions further, such as:

  • Using reusable containers for take-away food
  • Establishing reusable tableware libraries for festivals
  • Banning plastic balloons and confetti
  • Installing water fountains in public areas
  • Distributing reusable water bottles to students

The conference concluded with the presentation of a decalogue by the City of Calatafimi Segesta, offering citizens simple yet effective ways to reduce single-use plastic consumption.

By beginning to engage more concretely in plastic waste prevention actions at the local level, in the context of the ERIC project, Calatafimi Segesta hopes to demonstrate that the collective efforts of communities can lead to substantial environmental and economic benefits.