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Most of Terna's waste is recovered to be sent for production recycling. Only some residues are sent to the dump and therefore have an environmental impact. 81% of waste was recovered in 2012 (83% in 2011, 89% in 2010).

Like the resources used, waste is connected mainly with the modernisation and maintenance of the electricity infrastructure. These activities depend on technical considerations regarding the security and efficiency of the system. The quantity of waste may therefore change, even significantly, from year to year.

As far as the percentage of waste recycled is concerned, according to the Environmental Policy adopted by Terna, the recovery of materials is the first option to be assessed and pursued if possible. However, actual recycling depends on the materials which make up the waste. Some materials can easily be separated and consequently recycled (for example the steel parts of pylons); however, in some cases, it is impossible or too costly to separate the parts, especially for equipment purchased some years ago. For these reasons the annual changes in the percentage of waste recycled must not be interpreted as representing a trend.

WASTE BY CATEGORY (1) - Tonnes


2012 2011 2010
Waste produced (1) 6,208.1 7,198.1 5,515.9
of which hazardous 3,297.4 3,887.3 3,013.3
of which non-hazardous  2,910.7 3,310.8 2,502.6
Recycled waste 5,015.5 5,997.3 4,912.8
of which hazardous 3,064.9 3,380.1 2,849.5
of which non-hazardous  1,950.6 2,617.2 2,063.3
Waste sent for disposal (2) 1,080.4 1,153.3 626.4
of which hazardous 215.6 450.8 191.5
of which non-hazardous  864.8 702.5 435.0
(1) Includes only specific waste from the production process, not that produced by service activities (urban waste). Up to 2010 waste belonging to the categories of earth and rocks from excavations and slurry produced was excluded because it has – above all in the case of significant quantities – exceptional characteristics associated with the construction of particular civil works in stations and would make the data series non-uniform. The figure for earth and rocks from excavations and slurry was 1,541 tonnes in 2010. From 2011, only waste relating to slurry produced was excluded because the category earth and rocks from excavations is no longer significant; the amount of slurry was 610 tonnes for 2012 and 675 tonnes for 2011. (2) Waste sent for disposal may differ from a simple difference between waste produced and recovered owing to the temporary storage of waste from one year to the next.

The main non-hazardous special waste produced by Terna’s operating activities consists of:

  • metal waste (which accounts for more than 50% of the total of non-hazardous waste produced), deriving from the decommissioning of transformers, electrical equipment and machinery(for example, generators) no longer used, more than 96% of which is recycled;
  • wood, deriving mainly from the packaging of the materials purchased, about 90% of which is recycled.

The main hazardous special waste produced by Terna’s operating activities consists of:

  • metal waste (which accounts for more than 70% of the total of hazardous waste produced) deriving from the decommissioning of transformers, electrical equipment and machinery no longer used andcontaminated by hazardous substances,more than 95% of which is recycled, after treatment by third parties;
  • batteries (lead and nickel), which in the event of blackouts enable emergency generators to be turned on to keep the service of electricity transformation and transportation operating during emergencies, 100% of which is recycled;
  • dielectric oils (which account for more than 20% of total hazardous waste) for the insulation of transformers replaced following the regular checks carried out for transformer maintenance and which are hazardous waste, around 100% of which is recycled. This percentage falls to 89% when oily emulsions and dregs from collection tanks mixed with rainwater are included, substances which are hard to recycle.

Waste sent for disposal consists mainly of materials used in the maintenance and cleaning of plants (mud, oily emulsions, and rags containing oils and solvents) and insulating materials containing asbestos for which no kind of recycling is available. All these items together account for less than 70% of the total destined for disposal (for the details of the quantity and types see the Tables of indicators).

Disposal of equipment containing oils with PCBs

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used all over the world as insulators in transformers and other electronic equipment, because they were a good alternative to inflammable mineral oils. However, studies subsequently showed that PCB is extraordinarily bio-resistant and can thus have dangerous effects on living organisms.

Italian Legislative Decree 209/99, the CEI 10-38 standard, the Ministry of the Environment Guidelines and Community Law 62/05 introduced an obligation to declare the quantity of oils contaminated by PCBs possessed, and established the methods and times for disposal.

In compliance with this rule, Terna implemented a disposal programme, setting itself objectives in advance of the legal deadlines. Already and since 2009, there are no longer devices containing oils with PCBs at more than 500 ppm; for oils contaminated by PCBs with concentrations equal to or less than 500 ppm and more than 50 ppm the plan envisaged a reduction in the quantity to less than 20,000 kg for 2010. The result obtained (11,766 kg), is an improvement over the target and in practice completes the accelerated disposal programme. In 2011 and 2012 there were further reductions in the amounts present in Terna's equipment. Residual oil is present in small quantities in a large number of devices, which will be used until the end of their useful lives, as permitted by the law, owing to the excessive cost of replacing them in advance.

DISPOSAL OF EQUIPMENT CONTAINING OILS WITH PCBS


kg of oil
PCB concentration
2012 2011 2010 (1)
PCB > 500 ppm 0 0 0
 50 ppm < PCB < 500 ppm 3,810 7,616 11,766
(1) The figure (8,266 kg) published in the 2010 Sustainability Report was corrected with the figure shown in the table (11,766) on the basis of evidence that emerged after publication.