When addressing an environmental concern provides a response to a social emergency
The Fiesso community, in Italy, carries out traditional work within the Emmaus movement: collection, sorting, repair work and affordable sales of items in the second-hand shop. The income received allows the community to cover its needs and helps companions to get back on their feet. Some also manage to motivate themselves to find work outside and acquire full social rights. As a result of its advocacy work together with a group of organisations, Emmaus Fiesso has also managed to create a night shelter for the homeless, a demand that was presented as a fundamental right and is now considered by the authorities to be a public service.
The community has an informal agreement with the municipality to collect materials such as cardboard, glass, wood, ceramics, and plastic left on the public highway. In Italy, this sector is highly regulated: the removal of this type of material (officially classified as ‘waste’) is in principle the responsibility of the mechanised operators who manage refuse collection. This rule excludes actors such as Emmaus who manually collect and select items for reuse and recycling. The community is therefore very proud of the concession granted by the municipality of Fiesso, which recognises Emmaus’ environmental and social role for the good of the community.