LIFE/Taylor Allyn: Recycling in Italy


Walking down a street in Viterbo, the colored bins are hard to miss. White, brown, green, yellow—it’s a rainbow of garbage. There is a big emphasis on recycling here; each type of trash is categorized and color-coded, and given it’s own particular day to be picked up. All the specificity definitely leads to some confusion among my American roommates and I. Around mealtimes you can usually hear someone yell “Hey, does this count as plastic?” I have made many mistakes about putting the right kind of waste in the right color receptacle, and usually along the way, my Italian roommate is tsking at me for putting a dyed yellow napkin in the paper bin.

In America, recycling is a bare minimum. In my area, people usually just recycle cans and bottles to get the five cent refund. It’s impressive to see how far ahead Italy is of America on the green initiative. Each home separates their trash into five categories on a daily basis-plastic, paper, glass, organic, and non-recyclable- and places the waste outside on a daily basis. Monday is paper, Tuesday is organic, and so on.

Possibly the most confusing thing is the clash that recycling has with Italy’s smoking habit. Everywhere I see a huge emphasis on recycling, on sorting and disposing of waste properly, but littered on the ground everywhere are many cigarette butts. I would think, in a country that smokes so many cigarettes, that proper disposal would also be a concern, and an emphasis. There are some outdoor receptacles for butts, but the ones on the ground far outnumber the ones in the receptacles. Yet, the recycling in Viterbo is an inspiring initiative, and one that I wish America would emulate.

Hi everyone, I am a literature student from Norfolk, Connecticut. I study Italian, history, and art history at the Università degli Studi della Tuscia. In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, and exploring the world!

Ciao tutti, sono una studentessa di letteratura di Norfolk, Connecticut. Studio Italiano, storia, e storia dell’arte all’Università degli Studi della Tuscia. Nel mio tempo libero, mi piace cucinare, leggere, e esplorare il mondo!

Anche, mi piacciono gatti J