NEWS

State has not grasped the the concept behind the drive to recycle

There are two sides to the recycling issue in Greece, the one active, the other inactive. Behind the success stories told in figures, there is another reality. First of all, the recycling drive has come to us with a seven-year delay. Only in 2001 did we manage to bring Greek legislation into line with European Union Directive 94/62/EU. It took until 2004 for presidential decrees to be signed specifying the details. A beginning has been made, however, and there has been some progress – there is a well-functioning system for recycling packaging, rubber tires, lubricants, electrical and electronic waste, batteries and vehicles. Yet there is also a downside to the story – the state itself does not really care. How else is one to justify the fact that the military, ministries and local government do not recycle their vehicles’ batteries? Why doesn’t the Environment and Public Order Ministry find a solution to problem of the recycling of packaging? Dumpsters set out in the streets for the purpose are left to overflow. Dangerous waste from industries, abattoirs and hospitals are treated in the same way as household waste. Composting has been forgotten, and used clothing and furniture is sent to landfills rather than being rechanneled into the market. What is missing is prevention and reuse. We may have adopted the EU directive, but the concept has not been understood and that is the key to modern waste management.