The City of Venice area is characterised by two distinct territories: the mainland with the populous urban area of Mestre and its suburbs, and the lagoon with Venice, its historic centre and several islands.

Waste collection has always been very difficult in the lagoon area, because of the unusual way in which the city was built with its canals and narrow pedestrian alleys. The problem has also become nearly untenable due to the presence of 30 million tourists a year, several colonies of seagulls which worsen the spread of garbage, and rat proliferation.

At the end of 2016, the City of Venice’s in-house company, Veritas, began a new way of collecting waste: both door to door (from 8:30am to noon) and by allowing people to deliver the waste themselves to boats fitted with trash compactors available from 6.00-8.30am. Self-delivery is a good solution for students and workers who leave early in the morning. This new system has now been implemented in about 99% of the historical centre.

Tourists or citizens who stay at home longer can wait for the garbage man to ring their bell. Prior to 2016, garbage was simply deposited outside on the street near front doors, causing unpleasant smells, litter and low quality separation of waste collection.

What is the innovation/policy/project/technology? How does it work?

The boats are fitted with special compactors for plastic, glass, cans, paper and general waste. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays they collect paper; on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays they collect glass, plastic and cans. General waste is collected every day. An important aspect of this new system is that boats are supervised by employees of Veritas and therefore separated collection for recycling is improving.

Collection and sorting of bulky waste is free for citizens by scheduling an appointment. Eight used oil collection bins are also available in the city.

Veritas operatives also a manual sweeping service which takes place early each morning throughout the city.

What are the CO2 reduction goals/achievements?

Separated collection is now increasing so that a smaller amount of garbage is now sent to the waste incineration plant. CO2 emissions should therefore decrease. Unfortunately, we do not yet have updated data available on this decrease.

Links to further information. 

  • Environmental
  • Health
Key Impact
People have now begun to understand that efficient separation in waste collection for recycling is beneficial to health, fights air pollution, reduces CO2 emissions and helps in the fight against climate change.
September 2016
Initial Investments
Cost statement for garbage collection in the historic centre of Venice: €22,010,000 in 2016; €22,300,000 in 2017; €22,280,000 projected in 2018.
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