Italy Recycles Close to Half of Lubricants


Italy Recycles Close to Half of Lubricants
© photo courtesy of Conu

Italy recycled 98% of used lubricating oils collected in the country in 2021 – the fifth straight year that it met or topped that level – according to data in the sustainability report of Italy’s National Consortium for the Management, Collection and Treatment of Used Mineral Oils, known as Conou.

According to Conou, the volume of used oil collected in Italy reached 186,000 tons in 2021, a 9% increase from 171,000 tons in 2020. This represented a 46% collection rate of the 400,000 tons of lubricating oil consumed in the country in 2021 – identical to 2020’s collection rate.

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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.

The country sent 183,000 tons of used lubricants to refineries for used as feedstock at rerefineries – 98% of the used oil collected – which generated 125,000 tons of base oil.

Italy permits 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.

In 2021, only 0.23% of waste oils collected, or around 400 tons, were sent for thermal destruction, and 2%, around 3,600 tons, were sent for energy and other types of recovery.

The optimistic economic forecasts of a 2021 with a trend of attenuation of the pandemic crisis and market recovery were sharply impacted by the increase in energy prices, Riccardo Piunti, president of Conou, noted in a July 12 press release. Piunti said that difficult scenario underlined the balancing role the consortium realized in the supply chain, allowing it to not only safeguard but also improve its collection and regeneration activities. For more coverage of sustainability, subscribe to Lubes’n’Greases’ Sustainability InSite.

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