Greenitaly report: Italy first in recycling, behind on renewables


By John

When it comes to the green economy, Italy is first class in the circular economy, poor in renewables, and not very inclined to invest in ecology. This is what emerges from the 14th edition of the Greenitaly report by the Symbola Foundation and Unioncamere. Our country recycles 83.4% of waste, more than the EU average and that of France and Germany. But in 2022 it installed just 3 gigawatts of new renewable power. And only 1 in 3 companies made eco-investments in the five-year period 2018-2022. The Italian waste recycling rate (urban and special), 84.3%, exceeds the EU average by more than 30 points (52.6%), and is well above all other large European countries, such as France (64 .4%), Germany (70%), Spain (59.8%). Italy is one of the few countries in the Union that from 2010 to 2020 (despite an already high recycling rate) improved its performance: +10 percentage points, compared to an EU average of 6 points. Italy boasts centuries-old experience in reusing few national resources, and this explains its excellence in the modern circular economy.

“We have the best source of raw materials in Europe: our ability to recover and recycle materials”, said the Minister of the Environment and Energy Security, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, in a video message at the presentation of the report. But in the most innovative sector of renewables, Italy is lagging behind, despite the abundance of sun and wind. Just 3 gigawatts of new power installed in 2022, while Germany installed 11 and Spain 6. The fault lies in terrifying bureaucracy and political disinterest, at least as long as Russian gas existed. Now, with the energy crisis, things have changed. The Draghi government, and then the Meloni government, simplified the authorization procedures and got the sector moving again. “We intend to install 10 gigawatts per year,” Pichetto announced today. The fact remains that Italian companies do not excel at green investments. Only 1 in 3 made eco-investments in the five-year period 2018-2022: 510,830 companies, 35.1% of the total. Those employed in the green economy, 3.2 million, reached 13.9% of total employees. It’s not an exciting fact, but there is a positive element. In 2022, the contracts activated in green economy companies were 35.1% of the total, 1.8 million, out of a total of 5.2. Although green is only 1/7 of the Italian economy, it is the one that hires the most, over 1/3 of new contracts.