Renewable Matter # 2 / Numero #2

Waste Thieves

by Antonio Pergolizzi

Does ecomafia only mean burying hazardous waste illegally? Are we just talking about waste trafficking or about raw materials stealing as well? To answer these questions we need to start with some figures. According to the Italian National Statistical Institute (ISTAT), in 2011, the Italian industrial sector used about 35 million tons of secondary raw materials for its production cycles, i.e. materials from waste recovery. Over the last ten years, the recycling industry has soared at a phenomenal rate: the number of companies rose from 2,183 to 3,034 (+39%), the number of employees went from 12,000 to over 24,000.


So, a substantial overall growth bolstered by many industries. In 2010, building sites recycled and used 51 million tons of inert waste and 22 million of scrap iron (equalling 77% of the iron and steel total national production). The Italian metallurgical sector relies on scrap...

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