The production of secondary raw materials through the national recycling industry helps to avoid importing raw materials, with a clear economic advantage for a country like Italy that, in first approximation, can be measured by applying to the quantities of individual materials recovered the respective market prices.
This advantage largely translates into a new economic flow that, thanks to the activity carried out by collective schemes like Remedia, fuels an economy strongly linked to the territory, such as that of recycling.
Through an analysis of the materials with the highest added value recycled in 2018 by Remedia, representing approximately 84% of the quantities sent for materials recovery, the Collective Scheme contributed to saving 52.2 million Euros in imports of raw materials, about double compared to 2016. Metals account for most of this added value, first among them lead, which alone helped save over 13.5 million Euros. Also copper made an important contribution, amounting to over 13 million Euros, and scrap iron, 9 million Euros. Conversely, aluminium and zinc recycling resulted in an overall saving of over 8 million Euros in 2018. Finally, plastic and glass respectively contributed to savings of over 6 million Euros and to around 1 million Euros in terms of avoided imports.
As anticipated, compared to 2016, the average market prices of these materials have significantly increased, as in the case of scrap iron (+45%) and zinc (+30%). This has resulted in an additional benefit, as the variations in the market price of materials, in relation to the recycling activities required for the same, presents a particular scenario: the lower the prices of imported raw materials, potentially positive for the competitiveness of the country system, the lesser the benefit for the recycling industry, since preference is given to the purchase of virgin raw materials at the expense of secondary raw materials.
As a non-profit Collective Scheme, Remedia does not pursue the objective of increasing its revenues over time, consisting primarily of the environmental fees paid by Producers to cover the costs for managing EEE that has reached end-of-life (waste), but rather that of maximizing its environmental performance in the most cost-efficient way with the aim of reducing the fees per unit of the waste managed. Measuring this progress is not easy, due to the many variables that make it difficult to make comparisons, starting from the fluctuations of raw materials prices.
In 2018, Remedia generated an economic value of 26.9 million Euros, largely deriving from the environmental fees paid by the Producers (92%), while the remaining 8% comes from other revenues and income from ordinary and extraordinary operations. The economic value generated in 2018 by the Remedia system recorded an increase of 59% compared to 2016, an increase primarily driven by the progressive growth in the number of associates.
25.2 million Euros, i.e. 94% of the economic value generated, were distributed in the Remedia system to cover costs incurred for waste collection and recovery activities. Of these, more than half were used for the direct collection and treatment costs, while just under a third was paid to support the functioning of the national system for the management of household WEEE and waste batteries and accumulators.