The fishing village of San Giovanni, along romantic Lake Como in the Italian Alps, is about as far removed from modern influence as you’re likely to find in the first world. Some streets are too narrow for any but the smallest cars, the church (dating from the 10th century) is only open for Sunday mass, local fishermen still supply the restaurant with hand-caught lake trout for their daily special and the town only has two taxi drivers: a father who doesn’t like to drive after supper, and his son, whose busy social calendar seems to begin at about the same time.
So it came as quite a surprise to find a significant public recycling station right at the entrance to one of the main streets. Yet this was not the overflowing dumpster variety of recycling backlot, but rather a series of sleek mini-towers which led to underground storage cisterns of some size (if the length of time my wine bottles fell before hitting bottom was any indication).
The lids are pedal operated, and simple categorization of paper / plastic / glass made it easy for even the most lackadaisical of tourist renters to make the effort. The underground location makes it tidy, and the scale of storage likely makes it worthwhile for even a small village to be on an efficient collection schedule. Other resort municipalities could take a cue (hello Whistler) as this operation also has the additional benefit of being animal-proof.
Now, of course it just needs branding…
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