Greeks getting better at recycling, though still Europe's laggards

Greeks are getting better at sorting their trash and recycling, a recent study by environmental group WWF Greece has found, though they are still Europe's laggards.

In 2007, only 58 percent of citizens said in a similar survey that they recycle at least once a month, a figure that has gone up to 86 percent today, according to the WWF report.

Paper is the most recycled material, representing 90 percent of sorted waste, followed by plastic packaging, metals, glass and batteries.

Of the respondents who admitted to WWF that they have not recycled anything in the past month, 53 percent claimed it was because they just happened not to have thrown anything away and 11 percent said they thought it was pointless.

A high number of respondents (13 percent) admitted to never recycling, while a few even admitted they had no idea what recycling was, according to WWF.

According to figures from the European Commission, Greeks are also becoming more wasteful as they produced an average of 457 kilograms of household waste per person per year in 2010 compared to 416 kilograms in 2001.

Greece also has the worst record in Europe regarding the percentage (81 percent) of household waste that ends up at landfills, when in countries with a high recycling awareness like Sweden, Germany and Belgium it is almost zero.

Meanwhile, figures from the European Environmental Bureau suggest that organic waste represents between 50 and 60 percent of the total waste produced by Greeks yet just 1 percent is turned into compost.