Italy Still Rerefines Close to Half of Waste Oil


Italy Still Rerefines Close to Half of Waste Oil
A worker adjusts equipment used for collection of used lubricating oils in Italy. Photo courtesy of Conou

Italy recycled 98% of used lubricating oils collected there last year – the sixth consecutive year that it met or topped that level – according to a report by the country’s National Consortium for the Management, Collection and Treatment of Used Mineral Oils.

The volume of used oil collected in Italy decreased 3% to 181,000 tons in 2022, compared to 186,000 tons in 2021, stated the organization, referred to by its Italian acronym, Conou. That amounted to a 47% collection rate of the 384,000 tons of lubricating oil consumed in Italy in 2022, up slightly from 2021’s 46% collection rate. Italy’s consumption volume last year was down 4% from 2021.

Italian legislation requires used lubricating oil to be disposed of in any of three ways: recycling, which includes rerefining used oil into base oil or into products such as diesel oil, fuel and additives for bitumen and sulfur; combustion; or thermal destruction.

In 2022 Italy sent 177,900 tons of collected used lubricants to be used as feedstock at refineries, leading those facilities to produce 117,900 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 to use waste to replace traditional fuels.

Just 0.1% of waste oils collected, or around 200 tons, were sent for thermal destruction, and 2%, around 2,900 tons, went to energy and other types of recovery.

Conou said in a May 30 press release that its supply chain consists of 60 collection companies and two regeneration companies throughout Italy. Of the 181,000 tons collected in 2022, around 86,000 – or 47% – came from withdrawals of small quantities of used oil. The organization noted that collecting used oil is only the first step in the process, with the second being to prevent it from being dispersed or misused.

The sustainability report was drawn up with the support of DeWitte Italia and revised by Ernest & Young.

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