Italy Still Rerefines Most Waste Oils


Italy Still Rerefines Most Waste Oils
Photo courtesy of CONOU

Italy recycled 98% of used lubricating oils collected in the country in 2020 – the fourth consecutive year that it met or exceeded that level – according to data in Italy’s 2021 Recycling Report released last month.

The report includes an analysis of Italy’s used mineral oils market, based on 2020 and historical data provided by the National Consortium for the Management, Collection and Treatment of Used Mineral Oils, known as Conou.

Under Italian legislation, used lubricating oil can be disposed of in three ways: by recycling (which includes rerefining used oil into base oil or into products such as diesel oil, fuel and additives for bitumen and sulfur), combustion and thermal destruction.

According to the group, known as Conou, the volume of used oil collected in Italy slipped 10% to 171,000 metric tons in 2020, due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This represented a 46% collection rate of the 369,000 tons of lubricating oil consumed in the country in 2020.

In 2020, the country sent 167,100 tons of used lubricants to be used as feedstock in rerefineries, generating 108,700 tons of base oil. The 167,100 tons was 98% of the used oil collected that year.

Italy allows waste oils that can’t be rerefined to be burnt as fuel in industrial facilities such as cement factories as a way of using waste to replace traditional fuels. During 2020, 1,500 tons used oil not suitable for regeneration were sold to these plants.

Thermal destruction represents the method of eliminate residual waste oils reserved for those containing polluting substances that are difficult to separate, and which therefore make their recovery impossible. The group said that compared to previous years, the volumes of used lubricating oils disposed of through thermal destruction rose 29% to 291 tons in 2020, up from 225 tons.

Collection rates equaled or exceeded 44% for the previous four years. In 2016 the country collected 177,000 tons out of 403,000 tons consumed, for a rate of 44%. In 2017 it collected 183,000 of 406,000 tons for a 45% rate. In 2018 it collected 187,000 out of 400,000 tons for a rate of 47%, and in 2019 it collected 191,000 out of 411,000 tons for a rate of 47%. For more coverage of sustainability, subscribe to Lubes’n’Greases’ Sustainability InSite.

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