EN22Much of Terna’s waste is recycled for production. Only a small part is delivered to dumps and therefore entails an environmental impact. The waste recycled amounts to 83% of the total (89% in 2010, 83% in 2009).

Similar to the resources being utilized, also waste results mostly from modernization and maintenance of infrastructures. Such activities depend on technical considerations on matters of system safety and efficiency, therefore the quantity of waste may also change consistently from year to year.

With respect to the percentage of recycled waste, according to Terna’s Environmental Policy, recovery of materials is the first option to evaluate and possibly choose. Actual recycling, however, depends on the materials that compose the waste. Some materials can be easily separated and sorted and then recycled (i.e., iron parts of pylons, for example). In some cases, on the other hand, it is not possible, or it is too expensive, to separate the parts, in particular for equipment purchased years before. For these reasons, it is difficult to see a clear trend of the annual variations of recycled waste.


  2011 2010 2009
Waste produced 7.198,1 5.515,9 7.053,3
harzadous 3.887,3 3.013,3 3.995,7
non harzadous 3.310,8 2.502,6 3.057,5
Recycled waste 5.997,3 4.912,8 5.856,3
harzadous 3.380,1 2.849,5 3.322,0
non harzadous 2.617,2 2.063,3 2.534,4
Waste delivered to drumps (2) 1.153,3 626,4 1.043,1
harzadous 450,8 191,5 630,9
non harzadous 702,5 435,0 412,3
(1) Only waste stemming from the production process is included. Waste produced by service activities (urban waste) is excluded. Until 2012, also excluded was waste belonging to the “excavated earth and rocks” and “sewage” categories, because – especially in the case of significant quantities – it has an exceptional aspect connected with the construction of particular work in stations and would make the data series non-homogeneous. The figures for the excavated earth and rocks and for the sewage amounted to 1,541 tons in 2010 (16,053 tons in 2009). For the year 2011 only produced sewage have been excluded, because the “excavated earth and rocks” category is not relevant anymore; the figures for sewage amounted to 675 tons in 2011. (2) The values regarding waste delivered to dumps may differ from the simple difference between waste produced and waste recycled because of the temporary storage of waste straddling two years.

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

  • metal (nearly 50% of the total non hazardous waste produced) from discarded transformers, electrical equipment, and out of order machinery (for example, generating sets), more than 93% of which is recycled;
  • glass and ceramic from discarded insulators (materials used to insulate conductor cables from support towers), more than 95% of which is recycled;
  • wood, mainly from the packaging of the materials purchased, more than 90% of which is recycled.

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

  • metal (nearly 70% of total hazardous waste) from discarded transformers, electrical equipment, and machinery contaminated by hazardous substances, of which – after treatment by other companies – more than 95% is recycled;
  • batteries (lead and nickel), which, in the event of blackouts, enable emergency generating units to be turned on to keep the service of electricity transformation and transfer operating during emergencies, 100% of which is recycled;
  • dielectric oils for insulating transformers replaced after the periodical checks performed for transformer maintenance, which represent hazardous waste and of which nearly 95% is recycled. This decreases to 77% including the non-recyclable oils present in the collection tanks mixed with rainwater, substances which are very difficult to recycle.

Waste delivered to dumps 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 provided. All these items together weigh nearly 70% of the total delivered to dumps (for further details regarding the quantities and kinds, see the Indicator Tables).


Waste Production: comparative data

The comparison between Terna and other companies on the subject of waste is made by referring to both total production in tons and production in kilograms per employee. 

Both the data from transmission companies (TSO panel) and the data from large Italian listed companies (FTSE-MIB) as well as from international leaders in sustainability (SAM - Supersector Leaders) were examined.

The data in value – both absolute and per employee – indicate substantial non-comparability in that they reflect differences in the type of activity carried out, in the generation of waste as a result of the production process, as well as in the size of the company, not necessarily reflected by the number of employees. The highest per capita data among the three panels concerns Xstrata (SAM - Supersector Leaders panel), a company in the United Kingdom that works in the field of resource extraction, whereas the lowest concerned the bank Intesa Sanpaolo (FTSE-MIB panel).

Despite the intrinsic limitations present in the comparison, and lacking more efficient normalization factors for employees, it was decided that it would nevertheless be of interest to present the main data on waste production. Said data, in fact, though it cannot be interpreted as significant of company performance in limiting environmental impact, provide at least an indication of the relevance of waste – therefore of the materiality of the subject in terms of sustainability – in the different sectors and in the different companies.

In 2011, Terna produced a total of 7,198.1 tons of waste. Production per employee was 2,060.7 kg; in 2010, for which comparative data is available, production was 5,515.9 tons in all and 1,590.5 kg per capita.

TSO panel: 14 available data (12 companies, one of which has different data for each country);

  • total waste production – tons: average 266,747.3; lowest figure 0.9 (Resedur - Peru); highest figure 1,700,000.0 (National Grid - UK);
  • waste production per capita – kg: average 12,346.1; lowest figure 48.1 (Resedur - Peru); highest figure 62,756.1 (National Grid - UK).

In this comparison, Terna ranks below an average strongly influenced by four transmission operators that also carry out in the field of electricity generation activities.

FTSE-MIB panel: 22 available data;

  • total waste production – tons: average 763,684.9; lowest figure 1,040.9 (Ansaldo); highest figure 11,482,000.0 (Enel);
  • per capita waste production – kg: average 18,099.4; lowest figure 42.8 (Banca Intesa Sanpaolo); highest figure 146,616.8 (Enel).

With respect to companies listed in the FTSE-MIB, Terna ranks below average, with figures comparable to those of companies that work in the service fields, such as banks and insurance companies.

SAM - Supersector Leaders panel: 16 available data;

  • total waste production – tons: average 70,860,928.1; lowest figure 1,814 (Westpack Banking - Banks); highest figure 1,130,000,000.0 (Xstrata - Basic Resources);
  • per capita waste production – kg: average 1,839,267.1; lowest figure 46.6 (Westpack Banking - Banks); highest figure 29,304,219.3 (Xstrata - Basic Resources).

In comparison to global best practices in sustainability, Terna ranked well below the average, which was strongly influenced by the high variety of the sectors considered, some of which produce large quantities of waste, such as companies that deal with resource extraction.

The great variability of company data renders a graphic illustration of little importance; the table indicates the lowest, average and highest figures and the standard deviation in the three panels concerned.

  Waste Production - 2010
  TSO FTSE-MIB SAM - Supersector Leaders
  t kg/employee t kg/employee t kg/employee
Average 266,747.3 12,346.1 763,684.9 18,099.4 70,860,928.1 1,839,267.1
Max 1,700,000.0 62,756.1 11,482,000.0 146,616.8 1,130,000,000.0 29,304,219.3
Min 0.9 48.1 1,040.9 42.8 1,814.0 46.6
503,450.5 21,330.1 2,444,709.3 37,251.8 282,437,299.5 7,324,008.4
Terna 5,515.9 1,590.5 5,515.9 1,590.5 5,515.9 1,590.0

Per capita production, should it not be directly available, was obtained by dividing the total of waste produced by the number of employees.



Disposal of qeuipment containing PCB oilEN1

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

Legislative Decree 209/99, CEI regulation 10-38, the Ministry of the Environment’s guidelines, and EC law 62/05 introduced the obligation to declare the quantity of oil contaminated by PCB possessed and established procedures and deadlines for its disposal.

In compliance with this provision, Terna implemented a disposal program, setting objectives for completing the work before the deadlines prescribed by law. Since 2009, there has been no equipment containing oil with more than 500 ppm of PCB. For oil contaminated by PCB with concentrations of 500 ppm or less and more than 50 ppm, the plan provided for a reduction of the quantity to less than 20,000 kg by the end of 2010. The result obtained (11,766 kg) went beyond the target and in effect ends the disposal program. In 2011, a further decrease of quantities found in Terna equipment was registered. Residual oil is present in small quantities in much of the equipment, which will be used up to the end of its life cycle, as allowed by law, due to the excessive burden of early replacement.

Smaltimento delle apparecchiature contenenti oli con PCB
  kg di olio
Concentrazione di PCB 2011 2010 (1) 2009
PCB > 500 ppm 0 0 0
 50 ppm < PCB < 500 ppm 7.616 11.766 131.852


(1) Il dato (8.266 kg) pubblicato nel Rapporto di sostenibilità del 2010 è stato corretto con il dato riportato in tabella (11.766) a seguito di evidenze emerse dopo la pubblicazione.