The "Global Recycling Day" and “Earth Day” falls annually on march and april. The theme of this year are the "Recycling Heroes", that is, those people who every day contribute to a greener future for our planet. With these premises Panizzolo Recycling Systems has organized, thanks to the collaboration of Dr. Antonella Panizzolo, a specific web open day for the students of the study course "Techniques for the prevention of the environment and the workplace" of the University of Padua.

It is important for companies to bring more knowledge about work concreteness and provide students with greater professionalism in their future roles. We talk better about it with Dr. Antonella Panizzolo, professor of the course at the University of Padua.

With the recent emergency COVID-19 we had to modify the program for safety reasons, transforming it into an online lesson. Through videos and interviews we have shown why our company is certified in the production of second raw materials and how our End-of-Waste treatment cycle plants operate.

Could you give us a brief presentation of you, your study path and your career at the University of Padua?
I graduated in Prevention Techniques at the University of Padua and for 20 years I have been carrying out the activity of prevention technician at a public body where I deal with both the environment and safety in the workplace.

What are the objectives of the courses of study you direct?
From 2014 and up to the current academic year 2019/2020 I have been awarded a contract for the teaching of Environmental Verification and Control and Accident Prevention (Class: L / SNT4 – Prevention health professions) in the homonymous course  enabling health profession of Prevention technician in the environment and in the workplace as per DM 58/97. The aforementioned Ministerial Decree establishing the figure of the Prevention Technician defines him as that health worker who, “in possession of the qualifying university diploma, is responsible, within the sphere of his own competences, for all prevention, verification and control activities in matters of hygiene and environmental safety in the places of life and work, hygiene of food and drinks, hygiene of public and veterinary health. The Prevention Technician carries out preliminary activities, aimed at issuing authorizations or technical health  clearances for activities subject to control “.

As for teaching, the university course is divided into lectures, exercises and guided visits in the most significant recycling plants for the training of students such as landfills, purifiers, composting plants and waste management systems. Fundamental for students is the knowledge of environmental legislation which primarily includes the study of the single environmental text, D. Lgs.n. 152/06 and as     amended with particular regard to part IV relating to waste, as well as the sector technical regulations, especially regarding recovery.

I believe it is important that students can acquire, in parallel with theoretical knowledge, the practical-technical applications and the founding principles of the prevention and protection of living and working environments and in this sense it is essential for them to be able to visit the recycling plants.

At the end of the study path, what are the roles that your students will play?
The degree course in Prevention Techniques prepares students to carry out future professional activities as “health professionals” both in the National Health Service – in the field of prevention, control and surveillance – and in the freelance regime.
The prevention technicians employed by the National Health Service or the Environment Agencies will be able to collaborate with the Judicial Administration for health and environmental investigations, carry out inspection and surveillance tasks and carry out controls in order to ascertain the authorization suitability as well as formulate opinions on irregularities detected while, in the private sector, they will be able to deal with consultancy in the field of Food Hygiene, Environmental Protection, Veterinary Public Health, Hygiene and Public Health or Safety in the Workplace.

Can you explain the importance of your initiative in accompanying your students to visit companies involved in waste treatment?

I consider it very important that students can see de visu what are the recovery activities that, starting from volumes of waste, allow to obtain raw materials as happens in the case of your company that deals with both the transformation from waste to resource and    in parallel deals to produce hammermills for the enhancement of metals ready for sale on the market. Alongside the training activity in the recycling plant, the teaching program will analyze the authorization procedures to which companies dealing with waste recovery are subject.

The “Global Recycling Day” falls annually on March 18th. This year the theme will be “Recycling Heroes” to recognize the  people who contribute most to the ecological future of our planet. In your opinion, will your students be the next Recycling Heroes? How?
 In the world of youth there is much more awareness of environmental problems and critical issues than that of “adult” generations. Young people are demonstrating a strong interest in environmental issues from pollution to global warming and the movements of    the Fridays for future for sustainable development and against climate change – which they see as the first activist Greta  Thunberg – are a demonstration of this. In this sense, the students of this course also have all the qualifications to be Recycling Heroes candidates.

What do you think waste treatment companies should do to reduce the environmental impact?
In the European Union more than 2.5 billion tons of waste are produced every year and the EU is updating its waste legislation in order to promote the passage and development of the circular economy as an alternative to the current linear economy.
Companies in the sector often lack awareness and knowledge to put circular economy solutions into practice, other times investments in improving efficiency are not sufficient or are considered risky and complex. It is therefore appropriate, in my opinion, for companies to establish a relationship with university research centers.