The small community of Bitetto in Southern Italy is considered a best practice example of how to use campaign messaging to source-separate waste, and how to incentivise composting through a “Know-As-You-Throw” (KAYT) campaign.
Zero Waste Europe has an initiative called Zero Waste Cities, which includes cities that have publicly committed to moving towards the path of zero waste through implementation of policies and programs with progress monitored by Zero Waste Europe.
The Zero Waste Cities initiative has profiled the success of Bitetto, Italy as a best practice in moving towards Zero Waste. Bitetto has achieved impressive waste reduction results in a very short amount of time because of two key factors – economic incentives to produce less waste; and by ensuring citizens have a wide range of accessible information available to them to better understand the system, their waste generation, and how to reduce it.
Driven by the aim of making the local waste fee system more equitable, Bitetto has developed an innovative ‘Know-As-You-Throw’ (KAYT) model for their waste separation and collection, which builds upon the existing Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) scheme that is implemented locally and rewards citizens who generate less waste with lower fees. The PAYT scheme is specifically designed to promote the uptake of home composting, with a vast reduction in fees available to those who use their separated bio-waste as materials for compost.
Together with key partners within the EU-funded campaign #Re-Think Waste project, Bitetto introduced the KAYT model in 2019. KAYT is an innovative concept to reduce municipal waste and increase separate collection through a knowledge and persuasion-driven approach. The basis of the concept includes informing citizens in a continuous and convenient way, combining technology, gamification, one-to-one meetings with experts, and some additional economic and/or social benefits. KAYT highlights awareness-raising, accessible information, and communications with citizens as key actions to help enable better performing PAYT systems.
The KAYT model includes equipment unique to waste collection vehicles in Bitetto which use tracking devices, so that any household which is seen not to be separating properly is provided with a notice on the bin that contains key information on how to avoid the same mistake next time. A free mobile app provided by the local waste company gives citizens a wide range of important information to assist their separation of recyclable items, and to ultimately reduce their waste. Information includes: guidelines on how to separate waste and recyclables, a waste dictionary to explain key terms and procedures, as well as a report on the volume of waste and recyclables collected from their household in the past month or year.
The European Union (EU) project on Reducing Plastic Waste in Canada