Oh this will be very unusual post, but I really needed to share with you all. As some of you know recycling is my worst nightmare, and I never really took care of how what and why do we really need to do it. In the UK I have never cared about it and it was easy to just throw your rubbish in one communal bin.

There is a total different story to that in Italy (like to most of things! Hah! Italy thanks for putting me totally out of my comfort zone and teaching me life). I think it is the most perplexing things about living in Italy is how they handle trash and recycling. To say it’s not straightforward is an understatement.

Here you practically need a PhD to understand the rules for recycling. It’s so convoluted that they give you an twelve page booklet to explain it. Literally!

For the first two years I have been living here, we had communal bins, of course there were four of them and literally even had description in polish and English on it. There were:

  • Brown bin- umido
  • Green with red label- dry waste
  • Green bin with yellow label- plastic and cans
  • Green bin with brown label- carta and cardboard
  • Green bin for glass is in every “bigger” village in the middle of it (so around 5km from my house in next village).

These looks like a simple way to do it just to follow. I have easily bin able to do dry waste (everything) and cardboard. With others I didn’t bother that much until it was obvious that bottle of juice is totally plastic.

Recently these communal bins disappeared! And I thought maybe they will exchange them for new since the previous ones were totally broken. Oh well 2 weeks later nothing! I started to worry and contacted my “city council” and they told my “picking up rubbish” is done by a different commune and I should contact them. Long story short the commune responsible for picking up the rubbish forgot totally about our small village of 20 houses (only 4 or 5 families are living here). They informed me that the whole process has changed and now we have porta a porta (door to door). One of my lovely neighbours offered to pick up all for me from the commune since she knows I am working during the day and it is a trek for me to go and do it in working hours.

First off, you need to sort your trash into several categories:

  • Plastic and metal cans
  • Paper, cardboard, aseptic packaging
  • Bottles and glass
  • Organic waste
  • All other garbage

Each type of trash and recycling goes into its own color-coded bag and then you leave it in front of the house on the day it will be picked up. You pick up the bags at the commune offices: yellow bags for plastic and metal cans, white for organic waste (“umido”)- literally says on the bag it is bio and white or semi-transparent for all other garbage. Glass doesn’t get a bag and for paper and cardboard you use a box. Glass just gets dumped directly into the roadside bin, though of course you need a bag or bin to keep it in at your house until you take it to the collection bin. Also the bags that you leave in front of the house cant be heavier than 15kg.

Oh, and they don’t pick it all up on the same day, so you’re always trying to remember what gets collected on which day. In my comune Wednesday and Saturday for umido, every second Wednesday is for dry waste, every second Saturday paper and cardboard day, and every other Wednesday is plastic day.  You can put glass in the roadside bin anytime.

I shouldn’t complain. I read somewhere that Italy is #1 in the EU for waste recycling, so I guess it’s all for a good cause. But I feel like after reading twelve pages and all the rules what goes in what I still have no clue what is what. An example of recycling that I discovered today, one of my favourite products: grissini. Well I thought easy just dry waste… no it turned around you need to break package and it is plastic and cardboard, so literally two items. I guess I will start appreciating the recycling bins at the airports now! Haha

I am forced to do it, so it is great finally! There are things for me to do it I really need to be forced haha