The city of Milan developed an integrated waste collection plan to recycle the largest possible portion of material, including organic waste, since 2012xxi. Milan ranks very high among European metropolitan areas in its separation and collection rates thanks to the implementation of food waste collection for households citywide. Milan started the residential food waste collection programme and transparent bag programme for recyclables in late 2012 and completed the citywide deployment by mid-2014. The city coordinated activities with its municipal waste company and citizens by registering households and ordinances for each step, worked with building managers to raise awareness of the programme details and implemented efficiency tracking and field optimization metrics.


The integrated waste collection programme was able to reduce residual waste from 450,000 tons in 2011 to 316,000 tons by 2015, and achieve a recycling rate of 52.7% of municipal solid waste in 2015, including 136,000 tons of organic waste collected (compared to 40,000 in 2012), with 0% of landfill disposal This puts the city on the path to achieving the EU target of reusing or recycling at least 50% of their municipal solid waste by 2020, and the more ambitious Italian target of 65% by 2016.

Reasons for success

Milan was able to implement significant improvements to its waste collection system by working with all stakeholders involved in the management chain, including its municipal waste services company, AMSA, building managers, and general public, designing a consistent program, measuring service requirements, and phasing in a gradual deployment strategy, using this approach to optimise subsequent sectors of the city.

C40 Good Practice Guides

C40's Good Practice Guides offer mayors and urban policymakers roadmaps for tackling climate change, reducing climate risk and encouraging sustainable urban development. With 100 case studies taken from cities of every size, geography and stage of development around the world, the Good Practice Guides provide tangible examples of climate solutions that other cities can learn from. 

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  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Social
Key Impact
Focused analysis on all open-air market waste shows a high percentage of organic waste (more than 39%). The environmental benefit is the increase in separate collection rate from 0% to 20%
Emissions Reduction
CO2 emissions reduction of at least 9500 ton/year (the foodwaste collection was extended to the whole territory at the end of June 2014)
Financial Savings
The main economic benefit is the price reduction in the final treatment cost, sending organic waste collected to anaerobic digestion plant
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