How they do it in Florence

We humans produce an amazing amount of garbage every day. This poses problems of efficient removal of said trash.

Different cities handle it in different ways. In Florence, householders generally have to carry their rubbish (and recycling stuff) to big, smelly bins like these.  Trucks  carry away the detritus, on a regular basis.


The tax paying residents in the historic centre got fed up with the noise and smell of this process, and the result has been that, progressively, the bins to collect rubbish and recyclables are being buried under the pavement.

Here’s what they look like from the street-side.


This is where you would put your organic wastes which will drop down into the underground holding bin.

Here’s a line up of  receptacles for every type of rubbish/recyclable.


Someone doing the right thing.


And, here is how the bins get emptied.



How does your town/city/council deal with garbage?


Filed under Florence

62 responses to “How they do it in Florence

  1. Underneath the lovely and growing Sydney Park is a squillion gigatonnes of garbage – filling what used to be the St Peter’s brick pits. As a child I used to strain to see the trucks disappearing down this giant excavation to drop their foul cargo.

    Latterly we transport garbage about a 150 kilometres south and fill up a disused underground coal mine – which begs the question of what to do when we no longer mine coal. It just occurred to me what a top job these drivers must have. Not.

    The subterranean bins look like an expensive, albeit aesthetic solution to the front end of the problem, but the real revolution would seem yet to be discovered in packaging.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yvonne, I haven’t been to Florence in a while, but when last there I didn’t see this system in use. And as others have said, it’s brilliant – particulary for places like Forence where the streets are narrow and residences are packed so closely together. On our travels, we usually try to rent apartments, and figuring out how, when, and where to get rid of trash is always an issue.

    Even under the best of circumstances, the amount of trash we generate is amazing. But look at it this way, just about everything we know about many ancient cultures comes from analyzing their rubbish. I’m doing my part for future anthropologists. 🙂 ~James


    • Hi, James

      That year was the first time I saw (or noticed) this type of rubbish disposal. the method had spread when I was next there.

      Yes, I get garbage anxiety when I’m in Italy also! There are many rules about what goes out when, and I never fail to sleep in on a critical day, and suffer garbage remorse!

      That’s a good point about the anthropologists. Bravo to you for being a hearty contributor.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. They charge us big bucks to take the trash
    And they pretty much do what they want
    It’s a racket just like everything else
    Garbage is money no a days

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That looks a great system. We have one recycling bin, another for bottles another for the rest of rubbish, which gets burned for fuel. But councils vary throughout the UK


  5. Brilliant, somebody in the town hall can think, and get others to take up a good solution. The system in our area works very well, we have (big) different coloured bins, for each house and we put out one or other colour every week. Almost everything is recycled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so good when councils get recycling going in communities. Some of our towns are just too far from recycling centres to make it feasible. Our council can’t accept cardboard, for example, as there is no place near enough that deals with it.


  6. Inconceivable–fascinating descriptions of trash pickup from everywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Caroline

    In the posher parts of Venice, rubbish & recycling is collected from outside your door as Michelle describes. In the less important areas, we have to carry it to a group of big smelly bins like those in your first picture. (They are still emptied into boats, though.)

    What a good solution to the big smelly bins they’ve come up with in Florence! As well as cutting down on the general unpleasantness, it would deter the (human) scavengers who always leave the bin lids propped open, thus vastly increasing the unpleasantness and attracting non-human scavengers.

    I wonder if it would work here? Of course, the whole units would have to be waterproof! And the above-ground parts might need to be a foot or so taller to rise above acqua alta.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I thought about Venice when I saw these, and came to the conclusion it might not be possible.

      By the images shown on Facebook, Venice has been having a crop of mighty strange tourists displaying a very high degree of ignorance and bad taste.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My Italian teacher Josefina sent me the link to the Italian newspaper article which included some pictures of some pretty disgusting tourists and their leavings.
        From now on when people ask how they should dress in Venice I’ll just say “pretend you are having lunch with your grandmother”…although there is a new generation of “younger” grandmothers where that might not work.
        Too bad there aren’t enough police to enforce the laws (and fines) that are supposedly already on the books.
        Yes, I am totally disgusted with the way some people treat my beloved.


      • Caroline

        Well, most of it is no different from the bad behaviour which is reported every summer. A new low, though, is the 2 young men in swimming trunks sharing a bottle of wine while lolling on the Partigiana.


  8. Thank you for your follow
    U will see you soon
    As always Sheldon


  9. Jane

    Thanks…I always wondered how so much could go into such a little space. Completely missed the bigger box !!!


  10. Thank you for your like
    As always Sheldon

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Clever system in Florence! Here in our town in south-western Germany each house has a green bin for recycling garbage, a black one for rest garbage and some have a brown one for organic garbage. Each bin gets emptied every two weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a difference ! Florence , this town of art , deserved a system of elimination of the garbage linking elegance and efficience .
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have a clean bin (top picture) 50 yards away which I put my bagged household waste in. The bin is emptied every night (about 1am) and is hosed down regularly by the truck. 😀 ❤


  14. What was wrong with just chucking it on the side of the road or, better still, throwing it over the fence into the neighbour’s?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The best refuse collection I saw was garbage boats in Venice!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They do have the system well organised there, Andrew. I really admire the men and women who sweep the streets and collect the rubbish in Venice, they work so hard and always seem cheerful.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. In the Hampshire countryside we put out bags each week to be collected by trucks. Black for ordinary refuse, clear for recyclables. No matter how many we leave, they take them all. We have an open plastic basket for bottles which is emptied each month. If we have too many we can unload them in the village receptacles rather like those you show

    Liked by 1 person

  17. These are relatively new. I have been watching them being put in place over the last few years. It seems like a much cleaner option than before.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The garbage in Holland too is held below the ground. It has the best recycling method in the world and almost all is recycled. Public rubbish-tips were closed down years ago. Shops must take back all used white goods and all used electrical stuff. No kerb or street collections either. All shop trolleys are deposit only and no plastic bags.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s excellent, Gerard.

      Venice, unlike Florence, doesn’t recycle organic waste, but otherwise, people seem very good about sorting things. However, I’m not entirely sure where the non-recyclable stuff goes from the lagoon city. That’s something for me to find out, next time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The apartment I had in Venice had a schedule taped inside the kitchen cabinet saying what was collected when. Cardboard on certain days, cans on another, glass on another. Garbage could go every day….well, there was no collection on Sunday. You put your bags out everyday by 8 am….but don’t you dare put them out the night before…and men with very noisy carts clomped over the bridges and picked it up and took it to a barge where they compacted it (another very noisy early morning process) and then I’m pretty sure it was shipped off to Mestre. Oh, and if it wasn’t out by 8 am it didn’t get collected and the seagulls made a mess of it all over the calle. So if you ever were walking in Venice and wondered what those plastic bags were hanging from doorknobs or hooks by the door….now you know. Of course, Yvonne already knows all of this.

        Here we have two big smelly bins in the back parking lot of our building….one is for recycling, glass, aluminum, paper, cat food cans (I contribute greatly to those) etc. The other bin is for everything else and people tend to put just about everything from mattresses to lumber in those. A couple times a week big, noisy trucks come haul it away. This is where I live now but when I lived in Seattle we had bins that were separate. including a yard waste bin (table scraps, coffee grounds etc). I guess my little municipality here doesn’t have the budget to deal with yardwaste.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Caroline

        Some of the newer parts of Venice are artificial islands based on rubbish – I don’t know if that’s where it all goes.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. sunsetdragon

    opps live close enough not love

    Liked by 1 person

  20. sunsetdragon

    Good idea if you love close enough and are in good enough shape to carry their trash there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It can’t be easy for some people, having to carry their various types of rubbish to a collection area. I had a good 5 minute walk/trudge to my bins of choice, in Florence.


  21. Susie L

    That is fascinating, and very clever!

    Our area is very conscious of recycling, and has been for many years. I keep a compost bin, but we are also provided with very large “green cans”, not just for our garden waste, but for kitchen scraps as well. In the city of San Francisco, residents and businesses are required to put kitchen scraps into green cans. Apparently, the compost from the city of SF is very good!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Clever and not as well as this, but the building we are in has a great recycling program.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our Council has a recycling program, but it isn’t very cost effective, due to the distance the stuff has to be hauled from Dismal Swamp to a handling centre.


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