About 50 million tons of construction waste has been dumped in Greece and much of it could be salvaged and recycled, a conference in Thessaloniki heard on Tuesday.
Anna Michou, head of the Technical Chamber of Greece’s environmental committee for Central Macedonia, said a significant volume of the material had accumulated around urban regions, but also within protected areas like the Axios River delta.
Michou, who was addressing a Greek Exporters Association (SEVE) event on the circular economy, said Greece recycles less than 40% of construction waste compared to an EU average of 90% and EU target of 70%.
The conference also heard that discarded fishing nets are being recycled into nets for tennis and volleyball courts as well as thread for socks, bathing suits and carpets.
Simos Diamantidis, CEO and chairman of Diopas, said that his company, which employs 100 staff, collaborates with the international Health Seas organization, which collects nets.
“We receive the nets, load them onto trucks, send them abroad for recycling – as that this cannot be done in Greece yet – and they come back to us in granulated form. From these granules we produce thread, which is not as strong as that of the original nets but is enough to manufacture socks, bathing suits, even rugs,” Diamantidis said.
“I could not have believed five years ago that we would be applying the circular economy with fishing nets,” he noted, adding that even banks are now willing to fund such investments that fit in with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) targets. [AMNA, Kathimerini]