NEWS

Depots to be set up to recycle old cars

Soon people who own old cars they want to get rid of will be able to recycle them at special depots which will issue certificates the owners can then submit to their local taxation office. No further taxes will need to be paid on the vehicle and the car will get recycled. One old car equals one ton of old metal and, in the European Union, some 7-8 million cars are taken off the roads each year, leaving around 2 million metric tons of non-metal waste in trash dumps. By 2006, 80-85 percent of every car will be recycled via this new system, and by 2015 the proportion will rise to 90-95 percent. Nothing will be wasted, and the amount of waste being dumped will drop from the current 25 percent per vehicle to less than 5 percent. The procedure Each prefecture will have a recycling depot. Once a vehicle is turned in, it will enter a preliminary phase involving the removal of all toxic elements, such as oil, gas, brake fluid, batteries and coolants, which will then be recycled or regenerated. Then the vehicle will be taken to a special facility to be dismantled and recycled. So far, there are no such installations in Greece but at least two are to be built when the new system becomes operative. There, the windows, tires, large plastic pieces like fenders and the engine will be removed. The remainder will go through a shredder and be recycled at a steel mill. Glass and tires will also be recycled at centers to be established in Greece, while plastics will have to be sent outside Greece for recycling. For the system to go into full operation, car importers will have to set up management systems. Either singly or in cooperation with other agencies, they will set up facilities for decontamination, dismantling and recycling. The car companies will then submit files to an agency to be established, which will rule on whether they have fulfilled the stipulated conditions and issue a permit. «One good thing is that car importers will fund the system, in keeping with the principle that the polluter pays,» says Philippos Kirkitsos, manager of the Ecological Recycling Company. «This means things will probably get moving faster. The system obviously won’t be complete at first, but if funding proceeds as it should, I think we’ll attain our goals by 2005.» ODDY has the experience and equipment The only agency with any experience in such procedures is the Public Property Management Organization (ODDY), which auctions unwanted or impounded objects. It has been collecting abandoned vehicles removed by municipalities in line with an ODDY decision in 2000. Since then, more than 60,000 vehicles have gone to ODDY. In 1991-92, when cars without catalytic converters were being withdrawn from circulation, ODDY took in more than 300,000 vehicles. The organization removed some basic things such as oil and gas from the cars, and the scrap was sent to the steel mill. «ODDY wants to be involved in the system as a partner. Besides, it would be strange if it were left out, given its experience, its storage areas in various parts of the country, and the shredder at its Magouleza facility,» says Christos Karayiannis, ODDY’s managing director. «In the coming year, if all goes well, we plan to prepare a dismantling unit. The State must introduce a series of measures to advance and broaden this system. Not just infrastructure but generous measures that provide incentives to withdraw from circulation the 1.2 million cars more than 15 years old that are currently on the road, which will improve living conditions in the big cities.»