Educational paths on waste recycling and reuse services

Contact person: Mrs. Patrizia Giancotti
Phone: 0667663369 – 3113

Metropolitan City of Rome
Dipartimento IV – Tutela e valorizzazione ambientale Direzione, Address: Via Tiburtina 691 – 00159 Roma


WHERE: Rome, Italy
WHEN: since 2015
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Prevention, preparing for reuse and recycling
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Educational, awareness raising
WASTE STREAMS: Municipal waste

About: The aim of the practice was to raise awareness and develop new habits to reduce, reuse, and recycle materials with the aim to achieve the goal of “zero waste”. The group that this practice was addressed was among the high school, primary students in the city of Rome, with the objective to influence in a more premature state the change of attitudes front environmental waste concerns.

On the other hand, initiative also had the objective of giving knowledge to how the system of selective collection works in the city of Rome and how the waste is managed in the city. Environmental awareness campaigns were addressed in an educational perspective, allowing to help developing new habits of consumption and lifestyle.

At the end of 2015, the Metropolitan City published a tender to award a contract for realizing “Educational courses on waste reuse, recycling, and reduction in secondary schools of the Metropolitan City”. The tender aimed at selecting 5 proposals for educational courses on the issues of waste collection, recycling, and reuse and on their values as a resource for all schools of the metropolitan territory. The proposals to be selected involve students, teachers, families and local communities and aim to generate a cultural change in consumer habits and lifestyles

– promoting an organization of local communities more oriented towards waste reduction, reuse and recycle; a significant recovery of materials; the goal of zero-waste production.
– promoting behaviors that allow a better qualitative and quantitative waste collection, such as the door-to-door collection;
– a better knowledge on the functioning of the separate waste collection system, of the plants responsible for waste selection and management, allowing to reduce conflicts in the local community about waste issues and highlight potentialities and opportunities of this sector.
Know-how: experience in environmental education and in innovative methodological approaches, such as the ones based on co-construction of knowledge through:
– Participation to emotional experiences, which can potentially lead to a change in one’s own personality, thus providing a relevant contribution to the learning process.
– Collaborative working setting, in which knowledge construction is encouraged by peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and integration.
– the project involved all interested parties within the education system, teachers, students and families.
Funding: The overall funds involved in the implementation of this practice amounted to €48,607.15. As the five winning projects are expected to reach around 3,500 students, the implementation cost per student is about €14.
Material resources: waste materials used in the workshops for the creation of new objects; web-based platform to share the practical experiences of the workshops with the general public.
Human resources: 10 people per project are expected to be full-time employed for the implementation of this practice.
Period of implementation: it varies from 3 to 18 months, depending on the project
Each educational path is expected to reach the following results:
– to involve schools of all levels in the Municipalities indicated in the tender;
– to involve at least 600 students, between 6 and 14 years old (primary and lower secondary schools), 15 and 19 years old (upper secondary schools);
– one final event to involve all people engaged in the project.

According to the 5 winning projects, the overall practice is expected to involve about 3500 students. Environmental awareness campaigns have the necessary capacity to reduce environmental impact. The results of these are not immediate, since the change of lifestyle and habits is not performed in a short time period. To obtain quantitative results, it is essential to analyze the recycling rates obtained, leaving a certain period of time to address and refine strategies. Only in a short time can be detected some minor results. Expected results in a long-term have been stated as:
• A greater awareness of the actions of daily life in school and at home that cause negative effects on the environment, also affecting positively the urban ecosystem.
• The dissemination and communication of responsible consumption and sustainable practices that can be carried out from school and at home.

Urban metabolism relevance
One of the projects provides that the students will be involved in creative reuse workshops, where participants are encouraged to create everyday objects by using waste materials and traditional or innovative assembling techniques. This kind of educational approach aims at stimulating a reflection on the social and economic value of waste and on the importance of extending the lifespan of resources through artisanal techniques of reuse. Environmental awareness campaigns to reduce and prevent urban waste can lead to a reduction in the exchange of goods and obviously, in the different materials accounted. Hence, urban city metabolism can be affected in a positive way.
Engaged participatory processes

The 5 projects aim to involve students, teachers, families and local communities and will have to generate a widespread cultural change and modify consumer habits and lifestyles. The practices will be adapted to the people who will receive these education courses. It is necessary to understand the area, the students and all their barriers. Only by a reflexive and well-planned design, campaign successfully will achieve the objectives to be accomplished and expected results. In that sense, initiative has enrolled:
• Schools of all levels in the municipalities indicated by the Metropolitan City of Rome.
• A minimum of 600 students, between 6 and 14 years old and between 15 and 19 years’ old.

„Researching, studying and focusing on stories and / or experiences of circular economy makes the related concepts intelligible and brings students closer to their local context, which they will learn to love and respect more.” –Environment and waste: a game of boys

Arch. Patrizia Giancotti
Funzionario Tecnico Laureato P.O.
Città metropolitana di Roma Capitale

The involvement of different actors at a local level and the realization of different kinds of activities in a unitary programme is an element of innovation of the educational path.

The innovative character of the practice is mainly based in the new methodology developed for the cooperation and organization stated between different actors from different public administrations with the same objective and focus. At social level, initiative is mainly focused on children and teenagers, that trough innovative mechanisms to translate messages to these specific target groups. If that age structure is correctly addressed, influence remains in time and good habits can be assured for the rest of their lives.

Sustainability and replicability
This practice aims to promote a social change towards sustainability, prematurely influencing students. Improve the possibilities by improving the habits of all citizens, including the youngest ones. The main goal of many sustainability coordinators is to create an environment that fosters education about the world we live in, especially of an environmental nature, and to create an environment that allows students to use what they have learned to create a cleaner world and more sustainable. Thanks to this educational component, the coordinators must also create a behavioral component, making sure that the habits learned are really part and not only mentioned as theory. For years, the Metropolitan City of Rome develops a strategic role of Education for Sustainable Development through its provincial territorial Laboratories of information and environmental education. Lessons learned in this campaign have allowed to improve this strategy. The elements which make this practice easily replicable in other regions across Europe are the following:

– A type of context (i.e. schools) which can be found in any municipality across Europe, including small-sized ones.
– A widely available expertise (i.e. environmental education) to be needed for the implementation of this practice.
– A flexible educational approach, which allow this practice to be shaped in accordance with the size and type of target groups.

Communication campaigns have the aim to generate awareness and increase knowledge to influence behavior. These have to be based on theoretical and formative research and must be adapted to each target group to be influenced. This kind of practices are very easy to replicate and long-term results are effective as long as the needs of the public are identified. Similar examples was already implemented in Rome in 2008 with the same objective of environmentally awareness students. In other countries, such as Catalonia, similar activates are also implemented in schools, such as Sabadell.

Success Factors
The methodological approach used in building knowledge can be considered as a key factor to an effective engagement of the students and therefore to an overall positive outcome of this practice. The main attraction of this practice is the union of different stakeholders with (public administration, waste companies and schools), with the same objective: increase sensitization of secondary students to reduce consumption and prevent the generation of waste. To assure success, it is important that these stakeholders continue under close cooperation in order to assure continuity of this kind of practices. In the long term, these campaigns offer viable results to the challenge of sustainable development. They are conceived as an opportunity to raise awareness of good practices among all the actors involved in the project.
Waste, Resources, Innovation.
Key Challenges
The involvement of the schools of the different territories is the most critical aspect in the organization of educational activities. For this reason, the Metropolitan City decided to involve the network of educators/operators delegating to them the identification of the target schools and the collection of the adhesions.


For more information, please check the deliverable, or contact the implementing body.

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