Italy’s deposit return scheme for bottles gets underway

Restaurants, bars, hotels and shops across Italy will from Tuesday participate in a deposit return scheme for glass bottles as part of the government’s aim to promote a culture of recycling.

Italy’s deposit return scheme for bottles gets underway

Customers would leave a small deposit when buying drinks in glass bottles, which would be refunded when returned to the bartender or shop, reported Corriere.

The initiative, introduced by the environment ministry in September, revives a regulation that was in place in the 1980s. It will begin as a year-long trial and, if successful, will be extended to other reusable packaging.

A similar system is already in widespread use in northern European countries, including Germany, the UK, Finland, Norway and Denmark.

“This regulation gives customers and businesses the chance to learn more about environmental good practice while producing less waste and saving money,” said Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti.

It might come as a surprise to many, but Italy ranked top in the EU for waste recycling in a Eurostat report published on Monday. The country recycles 76.9 percent of urban, industrial and other waste, well above the EU average of 37 percent and ahead of France (54 percent), the UK (44 percent) and Germany (43 percent). 

Meanwhile, last year Italy’s upper house passed a raft of legislation designed to combat food waste across the country.

Read more: What you need to know about Italy's new food waste laws


Central and southern Italy brace for storms and heavy snow

Storms and snowfall are forecast across much of central and southern Italy over the next few days, according to weather reports.

Snow is forecast in the hills of much of central and southern Italy.
Snow is forecast in the hills of much of central and southern Italy. Photo: Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Italy’s Civil Protection Department on Monday issued ‘orange’ alerts for bad weather along Campania’s Tyrrhenian coastline and the western part of Calabria, while Sicily, Basilicata, Lazio, Molise, Umbria, Abruzzo, central-western Sardinia, and the remaining areas of Campania and Calabria are under a lower-level ‘yellow’ weather warning.

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts is warning Italy’s central-southern regions to prepare for a blast of polar air from the Arctic Circle that will bring heavy snowfall, rain and storms, reports national weather forecaster Il Meteo.

The village of Grotte di Castro in the province of Viterbo, two hours’ drive north of Rome, mountainous parts of Sardinia, and much of the province of Campobasso in the central-eastern region of Molise were already blanketed in snow on Monday morning.

The department is responsible for predicting, preventing and managing emergency events across the country, and uses a green, yellow, orange and red graded colour coding system for weather safety reports.

An orange alert signifies a heavy rainfall, landslide and flood risk, while a yellow alert warns of localised heavy and potentially dangerous rainfall.

The current meteorological conditions mean that snow is expected to reach unusually low altitudes of around 450-500 metres, with flakes already falling thickly on parts of the southern-central Apennines mountain range at 500-700 metres altitude.

The hills of Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, Lazio, Sardinia, Campania, Calabria and Basilicata are likely to see heavy snow around the 500m mark, while areas at an altitude of 1000m or higher will see between 50-60 cm of fresh snow.

Affected parts of the country could see 50-60cm of snowfall.

Affected parts of the country could see 50-60cm of snowfall. Photo: Vincenzo PINTO /AFP

In areas where the snow is unlikely to reach, heavy rains and thunderstorms are anticipated, with rain forecast throughout Sardinia, Campania, Calabria and Lazio, reports Il Meteo.

Strong winds are forecast over the whole country, with the island regions of Sicily and Sardinia facing windspeeds of over 100km/hour and the risk of storm surges, according to the national newspaper La Repubblica.

READ ALSO: Climate crisis: The Italian cities worst affected by flooding and heatwaves

The north of the country, meanwhile, will see sun but low temperatures of below 0°C at night in many areas, including across much of the Po Valley.

While conditions are expected to stabilise on Tuesday, cold currents from Northern Europe are forecast to trigger another wave of bad weather on Wednesday and Thursday, with Sardinia and Italy’s western coastline again at risk of storms and heavy rainfall that will move up towards Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto in the north.