Recycling Around the World… Greece

posted 02.09.2009
We know that Athens is up in flames lets hope that the waste recycling systems they've in place haven't contributed.  More from the office at recipro on Recycling around the world, todays country is Greece.

In the cramped offices of the Ecological Recycling Society in central Athens, Philip Kirkitsos hits us with some alarming statistics.

Every year, he says, one billion plastic drinking water bottles are thrown away in Greece, along with one billion soft drinks bottles and yet another billion plastic containers for cleaning fluids.

Almost one-fifth of the entire waste produced by this country is plastic, and yet just 1% of it is recycled. Greece, he admits, is at least 15 years behind the rest of the EU in almost all areas of recycling and is unlikely to meet EU targets for next year.

In Athens the recycling bins so common in most European cities are a rare sight. Although recently the authorities have launched new schemes, the impact so far seems to be minimal.

Recycling just is not high on the list of priorities for the average Athenian.

Most bags of household waste contain large amounts of glass, metal, paper and plastic which end up being dumped at the city's only landfill which - not surprisingly - is now almost full.

As a result, the capital currently faces an acute waste management crisis because no alternative sites have been set up.

Ironically the city does have what is believed to be Europe's largest recycling plant, built next to the landfill four years ago. But the plant - estimated to have cost at least 75m euros (£50m) - has stood idle.

The reason? It was badly damaged by a mountain of rubbish which collapsed on top of it.

Category: environment, general, in the news, recycling