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Environmental services


Included among A2A’s many qualities of excellence and positions of leadership is waste management and the conversion of waste to energy. An important activity, also from an ecological standpoint, and one with a great future, which arises from an extraordinary industrial reality: the combination of collection services and disposal and incineration plants. The urban hygiene service is provided by the Amsa subsidiaries (in Milan and province), by Aprica (in Brescia and in the provinces of Brescia, Bergamo and Mantua) and by Aspem (in Varese and province). In 2011 the service covered 86 municipalities for a total of over 2,300,000 residents served.



Amsa and Aprica also provide customised services for the cleaning, collection and disposal of waste that are not provided for in the service contract, or else services defined in those contracts but requested with  different timing or by a different means. Customised services include in particular: graffiti removal services; the collection of paper and cardboard; commercial, craftwork and industrial activities; asbestos removal, etc..



The subsidiary Ecodeco specialises in the search for, construction and management of technologies, plants and processes for waste treatment and disposal by extracting value from the waste. Ecodeco provides a waste treatment and restoration service for customers requiring this and the transfer of technologies for obtaining energy value from the residual fraction of urban waste after differentiated collection (Sistema Ecodeco®), by constructing plants for third parties. Over 1,400 companies were served by Ecodeco in 2011 for waste treatment purposes.
Piedmont, Lombardy and Campania are on the other hand the main regions involved in the plant construction activity: an ITS13 (Intelligent Transfer Station) is under construction at Cedrasco (SO), a landfill used by the Group for special waste is being extended at Corteolona (PV), a landfill for urban waste is at the construction and management stage at Terzigno (NA) and a bioreactor designed to obtain energy from biogas is being extended at Villafalletto (CN). Ecodeco also operates at a European level in this area of activity, designing and constructing plants for third parties in the urban waste sector. More specifically, work sites were set up in Britain and Spain in 2011 and a tender was awarded to build a new plant, again in Britain.



13 Intelligent Transfer Stations (ITS®) are plants for the recovery of the residual fraction of solid urban waste after differentiated collection. In the ITS® refuse is shredded and accumulated in a closed environment where the air used by micro-organisms to breathe and to receive the steam that forms is sucked up from the bottom and fed to the biofilter on the roof. After 12 days the dry material obtained in this way is taken by overhead crane for use in subsequent processes, depending on the utilisation envisaged.

Contact channels and customer assistance

Amsa has a direct relationship with the resident and the customer through the following channels:

  • an active call centre with a round the clock toll free number;

  • a desk open to the public from Monday to Friday;

  • an online service to book the collection of bulky waste.

The Amsa call centre received over 393 thousand calls in 2011, while the number of bookings for the collection of bulky waste rose by 21% over 2010. The call centre continued to ensure top quality levels again in 2011, as may be seen in the following table.



2009 2010 2011
Percentage of successful calls 94% 95% 94%
Accessibility of the lines and the service (free line time compared to time when the operator is present) 100% 100% 100%
Average waiting time on the telephone (seconds) 42 70 59

Another important contact channel between customers/residents and the company consists in direct correspondence, in both the traditional and electronic form, together with other communication tools via the media or via institutional flows. In 2011 a total of 15,585 reports of this kind were received by Amsa (+25% over 2010), mainly by email (+43%) and by the use of the new “Ambrogio” system of relations with residents managed through the Municipality of Milan city police.
On average 98% of reports were settled within 6 days (4 days for emails and 8 days for letters and faxes).
In addition to having its own toll free number, Aprica, has an online desk which through the completion of specific forms allows people to request information and provides them with the possibility of sending reports and complaints.
has a desk open to the public from Monday to Friday from 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and dedicated numbers for the whole of the urban hygiene service, depending on the type of information requested. Over 18 thousand customers were served at the desks in 2011 (there is a single desk for the three services: aqueduct, urban hygiene and gas distribution).

Information arrives by mobile phone

The spreading of smartphones and the reduction of telephone charges have led to a rise in the services available on latest generation mobile phones. The operating systems installed on smartphones allow the use of applications (apps) specifically created to provide the user with free of charge services, information and functionalities of a practical day-to-day interest. A2A has therefore decided to develop apps in common for the Group’s three environmental hygiene businesses. Since April 2012, a person can find out the location and opening times of the ecological islands or report abusive discharges by attaching a photo and indicating the position, thanks to the ability of smartphones to localise the place the photo was taken by the device’s GPS.

Quality of environmental services

Amsa drew up a Charter of Services again in 2011, in which the services it provides and the means by which the company can ensure the quality of those services are described. Included among the new projects presented in the 2011 edition of the Charter are the “area dustman”, which has been active since 2010 to ensure a constant control over the local area, and the service for the replacement of the “street rubbish bins”, which aims to increase the total capacity of the bins to be found on the streets of Milan by 46% (an activity planned for 2012).
For its part, Aprica has set up a working discussion group to draw up a Charter of Services for the residents of Bergamo, in accordance with the Protocol of Understanding signed between the Municipality of Bergamo and the local consumers’ associations. Meetings have been held with the consumers’ associations to finalise the document, which will be handed out on the annual distribution of waste bags and which will also be able to be downloaded from the websites of Aprica and the Municipality of Bergamo. The Charter of Services is an important tool for Aprica for providing information to residents and getting them involved; in this way residents are able to see their right to be listened to acknowledged and the company’s commitment to be accountable for the decisions it takes and the activities it performs guaranteed.
For Aspem the urban hygiene service is governed by the Regulation of the urban hygiene service issued by the Municipality of Varese.
In Ecodeco, the service is regulated by the contract entered with the individual customer. Meetings are held internally in the company on a quarterly basis having the aim of enhancing the value of the customer relationship in order to draw up any improvement plans.

Customer satisfaction

There have been significant developments over the past few years in the range of urban waste collection services, and a considerable transformation has taken place. The desire of the municipalities to meet the differentiated collection objectives set for 2011 (60%) and 2012 (65%) materialised in the changes in the way the services are run.
Over the past three years municipal administrators have asked operators to activate mostly domestic urban waste collection systems in the conviction that only by “door to door” collection is it possible to arrive at the differentiated collection percentages set by law.

With the aim of identifying a valid alternative method, Aprica has tested a non-differentiated waste collection system in certain municipalities in the province of Brescia which envisages a top loading bin that can be opened with an electronic key and is capable of recording the number of accesses made to the bins. In the municipalities where this method has been tried out, differentiated collection has reached almost 70%.
To check the extent to which the residents of Brescia like this system, which acts an alternative to both the “free” street bin and “door to door” collection, a specialised company was commissioned to carry out a survey. This survey, which hinged on three focus groups and interviews with 300 people, of whom 250 Italian and 50 non-Italian, was conducted in the final quarter of 2011 and was also used to obtain the more general opinions and expectations of residents about the waste collection service. The results showed there is an interest in improving the present system and possibly introducing an innovative system.

In Milan, Amsa carries out an annual check on the services provided to residents by means of a customer satisfaction survey. This survey was conducted in March in 2011 and in particular took into consideration waste collection, the street cleaning service, relationships with residents, special services and services on demand.
The check of the quality of the services managed by Amsa consists in analysing the importance that customers place on certain features of the different services in determining the satisfaction perceived with regard to these features.
The survey involved the municipality of Milan (taking into account its sub-division into departments) and neighbouring municipalities served by Amsa. Telephone interviews were held with 1,000 families resident in the municipality of Milan and 500 families resident in the neighbouring municipalities served by Amsa, and face to face interviews were held with commercial operators having their activity in Milan. The sample was stratified by gender and age.
The following table provides a summary of the results of the survey, referring to the satisfaction perceived by residents of the municipality of Milan:

Assessment of AMSA services (rating out of ten) 2010 2011
Non-differentiated waste collection 7.6 7.9
Differentiated collection of glass 8 8.1
Differentiated collection of paper and cardboard 7.7 8
Differentiated collection of plastics and metals 7.7 8
Collection of waste similar to special waste 7.6 7.7
Fine sweeping 6.8 6.8
Large-scale sweeping 6.9 7
Global sweeping 6.9 7
Washing of arcades and arches 6.7 6.8
Washing of pavements 6.4 6.4
Cleaning of tree lined rows 6.5 6.8
Bin emptying 6.6 6.7