HERA moves beyond waste management to prevention for medicines, foods and bulky goods

Gruppo Hera
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Gaelle Ridolfi

The HERA Group, Bologna's waste management utility, has launched three waste prevention and reuse projects since 2009. These projects were developed in collaboration with a network of public and private sector actors (public administrations, NGOs, pharmacies, restaurants, furniture workshops), and with engagement from local communities.

  • "Farmacoamico" is a project set up in 2013 to collect non-expired medicines and create a solidarity network in the region, which distributes those medicines that are valid for at least another 6 months among NGOs assisting vulnerable groups.
  • "Ciboamico" collects non-consumed meals in five company staff canteens, which HERA donates to NGOs making this suplus available to food banks.
  • "Cambia il finale" enables citizens to give their unwanted goods a new life, by donating these to NGOs and social enterprises repairing furniture, household appliances, bicycles and other bulky stuffs. To see more about this project, view the video below:

Main results
  • "Farmacoamico" involved 109 pharmacies in 13 municipalities by 2018 (covering 44% of Emilia-Romagna). In that year, HERA recovered 53,000 medicines worth €670,000 and distributed these among 30 charities
  • "Ciboamico" recovered 39 tonnes of food (some 89 dumpsterfuls) and donated 91,000 meals (estimated value €375,000), thus helping 140 people a day in 8 facilities
  • "Cambia il finale" is active in 80 municipalities as of 2017, when the 17 not-for-profit organizations involved collected around 866 tonnes of bulky waste in 6,773 collections