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Posted on Jan 9, 2009 | 6 comments

On the same evening I photographed the Fortuneteller, I also snapped these shots by Piazza Vittorio. I’ve heard a lot of people in Rome grumble about how there aren’t enough recycling bins, etc. but this actually an aspect of the city I’m very impressed with. When I lived in Boston, I do not recall anything like this, certainly no public recycling with easy access. Maybe it’s changed since I was there.

Now let me explain, these receptacles are all over the city. Ok so you won’t see as many in the tiny streets of the historical center, but I can think of at least 3 sets within a block of my office in the center. How does trash collection work? Basically, you are responsible for bringing your own trash and recycling out to these bins and then AMA (Rome’s trash collection service) comes by and picks them up. Yes, sometimes you see them overflowing, but for the most part I am impressed with how often they are emptied. The green bins are for general non-recyclable trash. Blue bins are for plastic, glass, and metal. White bins are for paper. Isn’t that easy? It makes it difficult to NOT recycle in my opinion. In some area a tiny little AMA truck (it looks like a toy trash truck!) rides around on specific days and will pick up designated black trash bags with the AMA logo. At that time they’ll also distribute more bags if you need them. I think they do this for the areas of the historic center where they don’t want to put the large bins.

And there you have it…more then you ever wanted to know about Roman trash collection. I had a fun time using the bins as a basis for a few different compositions, as you’ll see above.

In blog news, I’m picking up my enlargements for my show at Gloss on January 23 tonight. I’m excited and nervous to see how they come out! There’s also some other fun news with the blog coming up that I’ll announce as it happens, but I must say I’m really excited how people are responding so far.

I also have to thank Caitlin at Roaming Tales who wrote and told me that she nominated me for a 2009 Bloggie Award in the Best Photo Blog category. I’m supremely flattered! Everyone should go out and nominate their favorite blogs (hint hint!). No seriously, it’s kind of fun (either that or I really am becoming a supreme nerd). Ballots are due January 12 so vote before then.

Buon weekend a tutti!


  1. When I was in Rome I was impressed with the nightly pick ups of trash and recyclables. The dumpsters may not be attractive but its better than seeing trash everywhere

  2. I’m not impressed with garbage collection that forces people to go to that much effort. In London I have to separate recyclables (which can all go together in a special recycling bag) and non-recyclables. Both types of garbage are picked up once a week from outside my door. That’s what I call easy – not trundling off to find a dumpster with a zillion different bags. It was the same in Sydney.

    Both London and Sydney could do with more recycling bins for when you are out and about but I don’t think it replaces curbside collection for your household waste.

    I think cities should introduce compost collection. Apparently food rotting in landfill emits methane and this is a major contributor to our greenhouse gas emissions. They encourage us to compost at home but since so many people live in apartments, it’s not really possible.

    You’re welcome for the Bloggie nomination by the way! People should definitely vote for you in the photo category. And I would be well chuffed if people would consider voting for me in the travel category and also the best-kept secret category. Thanks!

  3. Hi Caitlin, wow I must say I am very impressed with both London and Sydney. When I lived in London I was living at a university so we just had bins in our residence. I actually found the lack of trash bins out in the city quite annoying because there was never anywhere to throw things away! That being said, London is a very well kept city.

    I still stand by that I really don’t think it’s that much effort. The bins are literally outside my doorstep where I have to go anyway and they are lined up side by side, so unless someone is coming into my building to pick up each trash bag, this works out great for me. The area I live in (like most areas in Rome) is filled with apartment buildings with hundreds of people living inside, so I think this works out well for us.

    The compost idea would be great! But yes, it would be interesting logistically because of the apartment issue you bring up. I do think Italy is sometimes a bit behind with these things, for instance I know they are just now really getting into solar power, something they have a great capacity for. Then again, as I wrote in my Tunnel post, they do seem to be using some new techniques to cut down on air pollution.

  4. I find it a lot easier to recycle as an apartment dweller here than back in L.A.

    I like that my garbage is picked up everyday. Back in L.A. the dumpster was only emptied once a week! Gross.

    I live in the Historic Center so I see those little trucks you talk about.

    Now if people would be better about their dog’s poop and cigarette butts that would be great. ha

  5. It’s so nice seeing you guys appreciating something we usually complain about. We are probably not in a bad situation as was Naples last year 🙂

    However the problem is that the collection can’t cope with how quickly they get filled. I usually have to leave my bags beside the bin because it’s full, especially with paper and glass.

    Regarding the number of recycling bins, a lot of them have been deployed only last year (just before the elections, you know…), at least in my area. In any case is still a good thing. I only hope AMA will be able to increase the frequency of collection of recyclables.

    My compliments for your blog, Jessica! I like it so much.

  6. Ciao Gibilix, welcome to the blog. Certainly we are lucky not to be in the same situation as Naples!

    Interesting what you mention about a lot of bins coming out right before the elections. In my neighborhood we’ve had the same amount for years and never have a problem with them being full. However in the center by my office, certain bins do remain full because it’s crowded and even if they change them often, sometimes they get to be a bit much. I certainly can see your point that some neighborhoods are probably left without much collection and that can be a problem. I hope as well that AMA continues to work and pick up frequency in areas that might not be collected as often.

    Grazie per i complimenti e sono contenta che ti piacciono le foto!

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