In article 184-bis of Legislative Decree 152/2006 (Consolidated Environmental Act), alongside the definition of waste, Italian legislators identified the criteria according to which a substance or an object can be defined as a by-product.
By means of Ministerial Decree 264/2016, a regulation was subsequently published in the Official Gazette with the aim of standardising the interpretation of the criteria according to which a substance or an object can be qualified as a by-product. If one wishes to classify production residue as a by-product and not as waste, the producer is required to demonstrate that it meets requirements identified by the law.
Managing a by-product can be beneficial for companies compared to waste:
- from an economic point of view, since the by-product can be immediately placed in market conditions generating a profit. In addition, transport costs may be lower: in fact, waste is subject to dedicated transport with obvious operating costs.
- from an organisational point of view since all the bureaucratic and organisational procedures for waste management (such as, for example, the correct preparation of the forms and the completion of loading and unloading records) do not apply.