On Friday, September 4, the documentary “PrimAscesa – La Montagna Creata dall’Uomo” (“First Climb Up – The Manmade Mountain”) by Leonardo Panizza was played in Lavis (Trento, Italy) during the event “Vita Nuova”.
The movie shows the first exceptional ascent of one of the last pristine alpine mountaintops: the “Ischia-Podetti” dump (Trento). The two Trentino mountaineers, Simon and Giovanni, climb up and sky down the slopes of Trento’s mountain of waste. The one that each of us from Trentino contributes to create every day.
View of the Ischia-Podetti dump from the industrial district of Trento North.
One remains shocked after the movie ends. Why does this mountain keep on growing despite all our efforts to separate waste and reduce the volume of unrecyclable waste? In fact, the movie clearly shows that most of the waste in the dump is made of recyclable materials. The issue is simple and derives from the waste separation and recycling system business management. If too many impurities (i.e., non-conforming materials) are found in the recyclable waste when it is handled at the waste separation plant, it cannot be sold to recycling companies and is therefore transported to the dump or the incinerator.
With its advantages and disadvantages, the incinerator is the alternative to dumps. Located about 50 km north of Trento, the incinerator of Bolzano is also used by the people of Trentino because it is oversized for the needs of the people of South Tyrol alone . Far from being circular in a concrete way, our economy creates unrecycled waste every day. Despite the good will of individual citizens and associations, our economy is often unable to find valid alternatives to incinerators that can drastically reduce the amount of unrecycled waste.
In addition to the advices given in previous articles and posts, we recommend you to be active critical consumers in shopping and eating places. Ask your favorite supermarkets, canteens, restaurants, clothing stores, etc. about their waste management. Questions such as “Do you have plastic-free packaging?” or “Do you sell returnable goods?” reveal how important these issues are to us as consumers. If we are able to show that consumers demand better reuse and recycling waste handling practices, the message will sooner or later reach facilities decision makers and eventually those who have the real power to improve the waste management system in Trentino.