Waste is normally perceived as having a host of negative attributes. Its very generation implies our desire to get rid of it, while treatment and disposal raise concerns over issues of health, ethics, social concerns, energy, the environment and costs.
Yet waste is simply the output of a number of processes taking place in our society. Its treatment should be approached as simply one of the many practices that contribute to the operation of our economic system, hopefully meeting our expectations in terms of sustainability, energy efficiency, environmental consciousness, economic viability. In this framework, the recovery of useful material and the recovery of energy are the two means that can turn waste from a fearsome concern into a valuable asset.
However, the real world often adopts methods which are far removed from best practices. Inadequate waste management policies and/or treatment plants can result in emergency situations that create widespread concern and public hostility. Furthermore, the debate on the strategies and technologies to be adopted is often waylaid by ideology having little or no scientific proof or technological knowhow.


The MatER Study Center aims at establishing a sound scientific bases for the many issues related to recovery from waste, without being influenced by any ideological or political consideration, independently of the expectations of any interest group. The ultimate goal is to give a rigorous scientific definition of the technologies and the policies which can be adopted for material and energy recovery, contributing to identify the most effective options for sustainable, economically viable waste management practices. This goal is pursued through the following actions:

  • Identifying and analyzing best available technologies for the recovery of material and energy from waste.
  • Establishing links and collaborations between academic institutions, public and private organisations, business operators and technology providers.
  • Promoting and undertaking studies and researches concerning material and energy recovery from waste.
  • Organizing courses and events (conferences, seminars, workshops) to promote and divulge accurate scientific information.
  • Monitoring the evolution of processes, technologies and practices for the recovery of material and energy from waste.
  • Reviewing and promoting the improvement of legislation on waste management, recovery from waste and waste treatment.

The joint statement on MatER can be downloaded at this link: MatER Joint Statement.




MatER is a member of the Global Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council (GWC), an international network of research centres which carry out activities concerning the sustainable management of waste. The network includes the representatives of the Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council (WTERT), founded in 2002 by Earth Engineering Center (EEC) of Columbia University, and of its sisters organizations nowadays operative in several other nations.
Here is the link to GWC website and the charter of GWC can be downloaded here.