First mentions of separate garbage collection date back to 1980s in Italy. The first to implement separate collection of garbage were several northern regions. Other territories joined the effort later. The first legislation in this field was adopted in 2009 only. It obligates all Italian communities to separate garbage into recycling matter for recycling of at least 35%. It was planned to increase this rate to 65% in 2012.

Some of the large cities excelled at this. For example, Turin (population over 500000) reached the ration of 42% in 2010. The best result was at a smaller town of Salerno: 72%. This is comparable to the results in the Scandinavian countries, which are the European leader in separate garbage processing.

On 1 January 2011 regular PE bags were banned in Italy. They were replaced by bioplastic, a biodegradable material. It is made of natural material, such as potatoes, corn and wheat.