The National Recovery and Resilience Plan, also known as the NRRP, makes 24.9 billion euros available to relaunch the Italian economy following the pandemic and encourage the country’s ecological and digital transition. The Plan provides 2.10 billion euros to make waste management more efficient and sustainable, while promoting the circular economy. Of the 2.10 billion euros, 1.5 billion are aimed at improving the separate collection for municipal solid waste and at building new plants for the treatment of organic waste, multi-material, glass, and paper packaging. The remaining 0.60 billion are to be used for innovative programs that incentivize the circular economy and include projects for paper and cardboard, plastic, and textiles.

Let’s have a look at the recycling objectives regarding the municipal solid waste, plastic, paper and the recovery numbers to date in Italy.

MSW – Municipal solid waste

In Italy, there are about 673 recycling plants that treat municipal solid waste, mainly located in the north of the country. Thus, the funds from the NRRP program are mainly dedicated to recycling projects (around 60%) in the center and south of Italy. The “Circular Economy Action Plan”, i.e. the European plan which encourages the transition towards a circular economy, has defined two objectives with regard to the management of MSW that need to be achieved by 2035: to reach a 65% recovery rate by 2025 and reduce below 10% the waste disposal in landfills by having a gradual recovery plan. It seems to be achievable, given that in 2020 Italy succeeded in recovering 54.4% of the total MSW, while 20% was disposed of in landfills.


ISPRA (Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale) estimated a 3.7 million tons of plastic production in Italy in 2020, 95% made up of packaging waste coming from the collection of the MSW and the private sector. Of the 3.7 million tons, only 620000 tons were recycled the same year and that needs to change. Compared to all the urban waste collected, plastic is the material that has seen an increase in the amount collected, going from 4.4% in 2019 up to 8.6% in 2020. However, although on the rise, the plastic collection rate is still low, thus the NRRP set an ambitious goal – recover 65% of the plastic waste by 2035 by means of mechanical and chemical recycling.

Paper, cardboard, and paper packaging

Italy has already reached a rate of 85% of paper recycling, a target that was expected to be achieved by 2035. As a matter of fact, in 2021 Italy went beyond the target, by having recycled 87.3% of the paper, while the European average stops at a 73.9% recycling rate. There are around 600 recycling plants throughout the country that recover paper from the paper industry, offices, commercial activities, and household waste. So why does Italy need to invest in paper recovery if the goal has already been achieved fifteen years in advance? Italy imports a large quantity of paper to support the production of packaging for shipments, thus recycling seems to be the best solution to reduce the purchase of new material and have an ongoing stock.

The achieved results when it comes to paper recovery led to one conclusion only – investments in the waste management and treatment industry are needed as they bring positive results, thus we hope to see the same outcomes with other materials as well.

Ecostar is proud to be contributing to the recycling world with screening solutions active in recycling plants in Italy and abroad, and specific technologies designed to screen municipal solid waste, paper, and plastic. 25 years of experience in the recycling market and in the construction of stationary and mobile screens to be integrated into waste recovery plants have allowed us to precisely identify the needs of operators and design screening solutions that meet the most specific requests of the market.

Let’s see the advantages of Ecostar technologies for municipal solid waste, plastic, and paper.

HDDS for the screening of municipal solid waste

Municipal solid waste usually contains long and stringy materials such as bags, and plastic straps, which can block the machine. Thanks to the HDDS (Hyper Dynamic Disc Screening) anti-wrapping and anti-clogging technology, Ecostar screeners separate shredded and non-shredded municipal solid waste, whether dry or wet, with a capacity ranging from 10 to 100 T/H in precise fractions from 20, 30, 40, 50, 80 and 100 mm.

Watch the video of Hextra in action with municipal solid waste here.

SWAT for the screening of paper, and plastics

For the paper and plastic screening, Ecostar has developed the SWAT (Screening Width Adjustment Technology). SWAT can be installed directly on-site on screens equipped with DDS (Dynamic Disc Screening) technology to quickly modify the screening section according to production needs.

For paper and paper packaging, the screening process is essential if you want to obtain a high-quality material and create new products. Furthermore, the paper can contain both small and very bulky materials, thus it may be necessary to modify the screening section in real-time. This can be done by using the SWAT technology thanks to which it is possible to modify on site the screening sections from 200 mm to 150 mm or 200 mm to 100 mm, by adding the SWAT technology on operational dynamic disc screens. With Ecostar screens, it is possible to screen up to 20T/H of dry and wet paper in limited spaces.

Here’s how the Hexact stationary screen treats paper.

To obtain different materials from plastic and enhance the most valuable ones it is necessary to use a multi-fraction screen. With the Ecostar screening solutions, it is possible to treat up to 20 T/H of waste and if in need to change the screening section on site from 200mm to 150mm or 200mm to 100mm you can do it by mounting the SWAT technology on DDS operational screens. Technologies that have a huge impact on machine downtime, while optimally separating materials characterized by dirt, plugs, labels or films.

Discover the Hexact screen in action with plastics here.

The PNRR incentives will enhance the recycling industry and allow many plants to renovate their facilities and operators to set up new plants or enlarge existing ones to recover more and more urban solid waste, paper and cardboard, and plastic. Will 2.10 billion euros be enough to achieve the objectives set for the next few years? They probably won’t be enough to cover all the initiatives that could be implemented for a circular economy, but they are an excellent start for recycling and recovery projects that treat the increasingly number of waste generated each year.

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