I Never Knew That…

The Intercultural Communication Course Blog
Nikki Knauer (Penn State)


I never knew that Florence, and the rest of Italy, was such an environmentally friendly place, whether it be the way they conserve heat or how they organize their garbage, they’re very conscientious of it. Upon arrival, the main indicators were the different types of waste bins on the streets. At first, they appeared to be all the same, but after learning more, it became evident that there are three different bins for the three different types of waste, organic, non-recyclable, and recyclable waste. The fact that it is so strongly enforced makes it an effective way to help combat the environmental crisis our world is facing. Furthermore, the streets are very clean here. I feel like people are more aware and refrain from littering, which is not always so common in the United States. Whatever waste is on the streets, I have noticed that there are constantly workers sweeping up trash and waste from the streets and sidewalks. This also contributes to the environmentally friendly atmosphere of Florence.

Back in the States heat and air conditioning are things that I now see we use I guess, in a sense, “excessively”. When I first arrived at my apartment here, I thought that there had to be something wrong with the heat because the apartment was so cold. I had no idea that you could not just raise the heat at any time you wanted like you can back home, but instead the radiators radiate most heat at two times within the day. I found this very interesting and a little bit of a culture shock at first. Sooner or later though adjusting to this different lifestyle was easy and knowing you just have to layer your warm clothes to keep warm, even in your apartment. I also have noticed that air conditioning in apartments are not too common, being that electricity here is so much more expensive than it is in America.

I never knew that most people in Florence, and Italy in general, don’t use dryers to dry their clothes after they’re done washing them. Going off the idea of being environmentally conscious and also in terms of saving money, not having dryers saves a lot of electricity. Although it takes a somewhat longer time for people’s clothes to dry, the amount of electricity saved by not having them seems to be worth it in the long run in terms of being eco-friendly along with their conservative uses of heating and their garbage disposal system.

Another way I see that Italy is eco-friendly is how they use reusable bags to go grocery shopping and if you do not happen to have a reusable bag on you, you then are charged for plastic shopping bags. I find this fascinating and very smart because it helps deter people from using plastic bags, which are bad for the environment, and start reusing bags they have. I do not know why but I never thought of Italy to be a country that is aware of living such an eco friendly lifestyle.