Neighborhood bins for recycling more than just paper

The Green dumpsters dotted around the city, used for collecting paper to be recycled, will be joined by bulk containers into which we will be able to dispose of unwanted packaging material made of paper, glass, plastic and aluminum. In just one move we’ll be able to do more to protect the environment by reducing the volume of garbage that ends up in landfills and, at the same time, save money and energy. Some municipalities (Maroussi, Filothei, Neo Psychico and Zakynthos among them) are already running programs to recycle packaging material, but in a few days the Environment and Public Works Ministry is to announce a nationwide program to bring Greece into line with European Union directives. The Greek Exploitation and Recycling Company, which is to manage the program, was set up by the Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou on February 20; the Union of Municipalities (KEDKE) holds a 35 percent share, with the remainder in the hands of producers and importers of products such as canned drinks, bottled water and packaged food products. It is the producers of these goods, in fact, who are responsible for recycling this waste. In keeping with the principle of «the polluter pays,» which came into force on March 1, they are required – whether or not they participate in such ventures – to comply with this ruling and to pay according to the quantity and type of material they launch on the market. Waste destined for recycling will be collected in bins and taken to sorting centers in all major cities and towns, where it will be packaged and returned to the manufacturers for reuse or recycling. Sorting centers have already been established in Maroussi, Patras, Zakynthos and Larissa (although the latter is not yet in operation), and others are being planned. In the future, similar systems will be set up to manage and recycle other material such as cars, batteries and mineral oils, for which presidential decrees were recently signed.

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