Study Abroad in Northern Italy 2018
Visit to Sartori Ambiente in Arco.
In today’s visit to the Sartori Ambiente facility that specializes in solutions to waste management. The company has been operational for almost 25 years and is a great example of the private sector creating solutions for the public good. Their goal is to create an “easy” way for people to dispose of waste and becoming friendlier to the environment by actually becoming part of the solution. The unique feature of these bins is that they are designed specifically so that there is little inconvenience to the user. For example, the company has rolled out recycling bins that are stackable while also being functional. This has allowed for more utilization of space and less clutter. This concept has allowed people to not leave waste bins outside but to keep them indoors, separate waste and then take them out for disposal. This is hugely beneficial because waste is a huge problem within not only Italy but the world at large. By reducing the amount of waste that goes into the landfills, waste companies are able to cut costs for the amount they spend on paying for waste disposal. This is great at helping to reduce the problem of overflowing landfills. Hopefully the city of Whittier and the U.S. at large can adopt similar projects to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.
Today I had the once in a lifetime experience of visiting Sartori Ambiente facility that designs and customizes waste bins. During the presentation I was told that a circular economy is better than the recycling economy which only focuses on the constant commodification of recycled materials but still end up as waste. No waste is produced in a circular economy. It was awesome to notice just how public waste bins actually produce more waste and CO2 than the waste caddy’s that Sartori Ambiente is producing. The company had also sold the waste bins to the U.K as they needed them to reduce their rate of plastic incineration pollutants coming form Norway. Transfer/secondary pollutants in this case can be seen as a driving force behind an increase in sustainable and environmentally conservative actions. France and Germany, along with 39 other countries are also taking action because of Sartori. Using a microchip to monitor the logistics of the waste bins and caddies also provides the company with an in depth look at their day to day operations. Sartori also takes into account the shipping of the compost bins that are foldable. By doing so, they can ship more units while also using less packaging. Since some cars run on vegetable oil and are used for biodiesel, the company has also focused on this collection of used oil. In Veneto these small bins of recycled oil are currently in use. All in all, great experience.
Today we went to Gruppo Sartori Ambiente headquarters which is a company about solutions for waste collection. They have been a company for 25 years and serve in around 40 countries around Europe. Liberal economy means to use raw materials and just to throw it away. Recycling economy is where you try to recycle as many times as possible. And circular economy is to try and avoid completely landfills or the incineration of the products altogether. The containers used are smaller than what is used in the United States typically because they are provided to each household and houses in the US are on average bigger but in Italy they do not use as much space of have as much so it was developed smaller for Italian and European needs. They have door to door collection widespread in Italy. when talking about waste, you have to talk about the quality of the waste. If have contamination of paper in a plastic recycling, for example, it makes it harder to reuse. Biowaste is one if the main issues because it produces gas if it goes to the dump. So they try to reduce the biowaste that goes to the landfill because when delivering to landfills they charge by how much they bring, so they can save money. Some of the products they used are Vented caddies which are used together with compostable bags made of corn starch. It also breatheable so when waste is inside its able to lose water which is what makes it smell. The smell is generally the main issue for citizens and households so to get rid of it really encourages people to use it more.then they have the stackable containers for door to door collection. It is placed outside on the street for collection. The smaller caddie products are produced in Italy but were exported to the UK a few years ago because of their issues with waste so they tried to push as much the reduction of waste as a policy and called the collection solution from the Italians and called it the “Italian job”. Small trucks are used too because they collect more often so they don’t need a lot of space to collect the waste.
Our visit to Sartori Ambiente was enlightening, to say the least. Not only were we likely the first to ever walk part of the way there (sidenote: I’m glad we were practicing “being green,” but those streets were kind of scary, and the bus ride just a tad crowded), but the information they provided us with regarding recycling was super informative. My favorite part was learning about how the company individualized their products for each nation they cater to. Of course, they originally made their products for Italy, but it eventually spread to 38 countries and 40 provinces. One thing I think they understand very well is that one can always do better in terms of reducing waste, and while we all may have a goal to do better in this regard, we don’t always get there in the same way. For example, this program was doing a trial run in New York, but it isn’t working as well because New York isn’t Italy. However, with some modifications to the program and a change in people’s mindset, I think this program could work very well in the US. It would take some time and some getting used to, but in the end, I firmly believe that it would make a difference. Luca also mentioned that if/when they were to expand into Africa, they would focus on biowaste and would likely use wood instead of plastic. This demonstrates the individualization needed to make small changes that will eventually make a large difference to the world.
Today started off a little slow with some much needed time to work on our group presentations for a few hours and get some much needed rest before getting back into the thick of class. After we had been hanging out for a few hours, we set out for the Sartori Ambiente group’s local headquarters here in Trentino that contains two businesses in Italy and one in Chile. This diversified company is centered around creating new containers for waste products and in turn finding new ways of managing this waste that has come to be apart of modern civilization. As our guide Luka outlined during his presentation, waste has become an increasingly large problem within societies because not only do people lack the ability to sort their waste effectively, there is an innate need for a company to successfully be able to dispose of different types of waste in the proper fashion. Luka described three types of economy; linear, recycling, and circular. The linear economy is simply a “use and abuse” strategy in which waste is disposed of with no sort of rhyme or reason. Recycling economy produces less waste, and things are repurposed for different things after they have been used. Circular economy is the most beneficial connection between the environment and humans in which involves totally avoiding landfill or incineration of waste. This final strategy is what Luka described to be the strategy of the Sartori Ambiente group in their aim to create a better environment through waste management and disposal. This is what I found to be most compelling about the entire tour and presentation we were given at the headquarters; I have never really seen a company like this that’s main goal was protecting and preserving the environment by tackling a prevalent problem head on and actually providing solutions to issues that are age old. It really isn’t something that is all to common in the United States because our culture is typically centered around “me, me, me” and it was great to see a company taking a completely different stance and make money while doing it.
Today was a short day, but still a very interesting one as well, as we got to visit the Gruppo Sartori Ambiente company close by in Arco. The company specializes in waste containers and recycling systems for around 25 years now, which for a company that focuses on waste and sustainability, is pretty impressive. They mainly sell their product to customers within Italy, however, they also sell all over the world to various nations as well. Their product features a new stackable design for trash cans, which helps the consumer sort their trash more efficiently so that excess waste does not become a problem and some of the excess waste can actually be used to make or fuel other things. They hold their consumers accountable because each bin has an RFID chip, which basically, when scanned, tracks the amount of times that the bin is collected and also the person can also be checked to measure how well they are actually sorting and throwing their trash away in the correct container. One of the main goals they pursue is to get consumers to recycle better so that waste stays in more of what they describe as a circular economy, which is where the waste basically stays in use and is recycled and then repurposed, which overall reduces the amount of waste overall. This is important because the growing needs to reducing waste is evident, as it is becoming more and more expensive each year for nations to find ways to get rid of their waste, so in the end, they are helping people save money with their product. As a company which is focused at reducing waste and sustaining the environment, they hold true to their nature with their product, which are made out of recycled products. One of their products is a waste bin which collects used vegetable oil, and if a person delivers vegetable oil to a recycling center 3 times a year, then they receive a discount of 20 euros on their energy bill, because of the positive impact that recycling vegetable oil can have, as it can be used for fuel. Thinking in terms of sustainability, Gruppo Sartori Ambiente is fighting the issue of waste from a different perspective, and in a sense, holds people accountable for their waste because of the RFID technology which can track who is throwing away what. By doing this, they incentivize people to recycle more effectively, which is one of the best ways that people can start help the environment and reuse our resources. The visit was short, but it was really awesome to see and learn in such a short period of time how easy it could be to reduce waste and become more sustainable by altering the design and system of how we throw away our trash starting at the source.
Today we went to the Waste Container and Recycling company. They created a new design for waste bins to make them more accessible and to reduce biowaste. Biowaste is trash that will degrade. Examples of this range from food waste, to manure, to sewer sludge. They are trying to bring composting and recycling tactics to more and more areas in the world. I really liked the favela project, taking trash items like discarded water bottles and tires and growing tomatoes and other food sources. The main goal was to move from linear waste, where something is produced, and all excess materials are discarded as well as the object when it has run its lifetime, to recycling waste, where we reuse as many materials as many times as possible. The final step is a circular system where we can totally avoid landfills or the incineration of waste. It is a company that has been around for 25 years, and is only growing spreading potential green techniques.
Today we visited Sartori Ambiente, a company specializing in waste containers and recycling systems. At this factory, they specifically make the “caddies” and home composting containers, as well as composting bags made from corn starch, which I found very interesting. It was also interesting how they didn’t use machines in the production of their products; they simply had molds they had designed themselves. This company seemed incredibly vested in the interests of their clients; not only did they want them to feel involved in their sustainability efforts, but they developed a system of containers that could be used in many different settings for optimal convenience. In addition to this, they also said they worked with specifically with families to produce products that would work best with their everyday lives. I appreciated the efforts they put towards working in other countries, specifically Brazil, as I was fortunate enough to go there for a Jan term this year. One thing I noticed while I was there was the amount of trash that filled the sidewalks and beaches, and it was heartwarming to see that other countries in other continents are working towards solutions to an overall greener world.
Today’s visit at Sartori Ambiente where we learned about waste containers and recycling systems was very inspiring. The main practice that stuck with me was the progress they have for recycling vegetable oil. Whenever I cook with vegetable oil I never know how to dispose of it. I always worry that I’m going to clog a drain or think that I’m could dispose of it another way, I just never knew how to dispose of it. Learning that there is a sustainable way to dispose of it was very exciting. It’s even better to know that it can be turned into biodiesel! I hope that this practice comes to the US soon because I’d love to start applying it to my regular practices.
Our guide today also reinforced the theme of reciprocity that we’ve been hearing at all of the sites we’ve visited. Luca, our guide said that his motivation for doing what he’s doing is “you feel like what you are doing is helping the life of the people!” It’s been so inspiring that people’s motivation for doing what they’re doing is truly wanting to sustain the environment and help others.
Today we visited Sartori Ambiente, a recycling plant that provides sustainable environmental solutions, limiting the amount of waste produced in over thirty countries. Sartori Ambiente does this by providing containers and solutions for waste solution. For the past twenty five years, the company has manufactured their products in Milan, making it easier to ship and deliver both nationally and globally. One of my favorite aspects of the company was their creation of a home composter, bringing sustainable disposal of waste inside the home, without a high cost. Another unique aspect is the microchip placed inside either the recycling bin or waste bags, helping to locate the product, making trash collection both easier and more efficient. The goal of Sartori Ambiente is to help create a circular economy, rather than a linear or recycling economy. In regards to sustainability, a circular economy is the most sustainable, because it recycles and re-uses every aspect of all consumer products. Unlike Europe, the United States thrives off mainly either a linear or recycling economy. Unlike a circular economy, a linear economy’s raw material all ends up in a landfill, meanwhile a recycling economy re-uses products, but only a certain number of times. I was also surprised to learn that trash bins in Europe are much smaller, because the houses are much smaller. As a result, Sartori Ambiente manufactures smaller recycling bins, making it easier to divide waste products. By doing this, households are able to divide their waste, separating the biodegradable waste, the good waste, and bad waste. Overall, I enjoyed learning the many ways that Sartori Ambiente’s innovative and easy approach to recycling is helping to bridge the gap between a linear, and circular economies.
Today we went to Arco to visit Sartori Ambiente, where they have been changing the ways of waste management for 25 years. This particular waste management company sells containers that pertain to different types of waste. They are the leading company within Europe in producing containers and solutions for waste collection and separation. This company provides homes with the different containers for different types of waste and also goes and picks up the waste as well. They have an RFI microchip that goes inside the bin or trash bag that contains a number so when you get a bin they connect a specific number to you. Once it’s emptied into the truck you get a bill for how much you threw away. They are also starting this new program in which you can put your vegetable oil into, and if you bring that in at least three times a year you get a price cut on your energy bill. The price cut is about twenty percent, which can add up. The average person produces 700 kg per year but with this method they produces 350 kg. Also 80% of that is recycled and ultimately only produce 10 kilograms per year. That is a significant difference. Something I found interesting about this which was completely different than the United States was that they didn’t have any trash bins outside. I think this gives people a different concept of trash, especially if you have to separate it and see the trash you are throwing away. This is something that should be implemented around the world and we should start this in the United States. Also as the man was presenting this he seemed fairly compassionate about it. I’m happy that there are people out there that still care about the earth and want to better it rather than ruin it.
Learning about Italy’s efforts in waste management today was incredibly interesting. It was cool to see how many resources they provide for their citizens in order to reduce the waste for the country. I think two of the most interesting things that I saw today was the small bin for vegetable oils, as well as the microchip for every households bin in order to keep track of individual households trash. I couldn’t believe it when he said that the oil is used for fuel. It was cool to see something like that come full circle and not harm the environment, when it very easily could. I thought that the tour he gave along with the in depth presentation on Italy’s waste/waste management was extremely eye opening. It made me realize how much change needs to happen back home as well as little efforts I can do in order to start the movement. All in al, it was an incredible day and Luca showed us so much hospitality.
What stood out to me during our visit was the amount of time that Sartori Ambiente had been in business. When the company came into business twenty-five years ago, sustainability and waste control was not as prevalent of an issue as it is today. I recognized the risk that the business owners must have taken to test their company during a time in which people were concerned with many other things. The biggest take away is the effect that the company has on its community. People want the responsibility of separating their trash when they become apart of Sartori Ambiente. This company also has been inspiring people in the states to do the same. The company trusts the community to do their due diligence and the community trusts the company to do its job. In addition, Sartori Ambiente has made it so easy for people. The bins are custom made, easily accessible, storable and picked up regularly. How much easier could it get to put something where it belongs? In America, we want to do whatever is fastest and easiest. I couldn’t imagine anything being as easy and fast and this company has made it to be.
Today we visited Sartori Ambiente recycling plant, an organization that has been around for 25 years and have reached 40 countries. The speaker informed us of 3 different types of economy- linear, recycling, and waste. Linear economy is when one produces waste and the waste material is burned or buried. Recycling economy tries to reuse the waste as much as possible. And circular economy is to totally avoid landfill or incineration of the waste. The organization’s goal was to help others achieve zero waste. I thought it was very interesting when he explained how door to door trash collecting is more effective when it comes to reducing waste, as people are more aware of their trash when it’s in their home versus outside in bins on the street.
Today we had some unfortunate rain in the morning so we didn’t get to partake in our scheduled UNESCO World War I site tour or the tour of the olive oil plant. I was sad about that but we were all lucky to get some extra time to work on our final project. The one place that we were able to visit today was the Gruppo Sartori Ambiente Recycling Plant. This group is a 25 year old company which in terms of time is quite a lot when your talking about the environmental movement which is pretty recent. They have offices in about 40 countries and are the leading company in Italy and in Europe where they do waste separation first then collection second, however they don’t actually do any recycling in house. One of the coolest things that I learned about this company is that they have RFID (radio frequency identification) tech to detect which bin is what and what bin should go to which family depending on how much waste they produce; so the more waste you make
more money you pay. I thought that was interesting because in America we pay a flat fee for our trash no matter if it’s 4 pounds or 40 pounds. Here in Italy they have more of an incentive to produce less waste. Another fact that I thought was interesting to learn is that Italy has almost completely moved away from street collecting which is the process of people putting their trash on the side of the road to be picked up without human to human interaction. Italy has now almost completely made the shift to door to door collection which means that someone comes to your door to pick up trash personally from you. This change has been proven through study that people are more likely to put trash in proper bins with door to door pick up because physiologically they know that there is someone there to make sure they are being accountable. I believe that could make for a positive change in America as well. With these containers in use one person in Contarina only produces about 120 pounds of residual waste per year! I was so surprised to see how much the use of these bins has reduced residual waste but I’m totally on board and will continue to advocate for the use of these types of bins in America.
Today we went to a place hat produces trash cans as a solution for waste. They are called Gruppo sartori ambiente. We met Luca Torresan who told us all about their process. We visited the one in Trentino but their main production warehouse is closer to Milan. They produce sustainable trash cans for over 40 countries including: Australia, New Zealand, America, Chile, Costa Rica, Canada, and other countries in Europe. He explained to us the three different types of waste disposal. The first was linear which is when raw material is used and then thrown away to a landfill. The second is recycle which is when you use material as many times as you can. The third one is circular. Circular is the best and it strives to totally avoid landfill or incineration of product. We also learned that this is a hard job because if plastic is contaminated: it’s very difficult to reuse it and make it into things like the trash cans. And this is sad because over 30% of plastic is contaminated. I think this is a promising future for waste disposal.
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