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Greece recycling market is a relatively undeveloped with a poor track record on environmental concerns. The Greece recycling market is undergoing a period of investment and improvement, driven primarily from recent EU directives and the legislative framework, established to drive change and improvements in recycling markets across Europe. The EU directives have set tough targets and expect member states to recycle between 50% to 85% of packaging material in 2011 and also decrease organic urban waste through composting processes at the source by 50% by 2013 and decrease by 65% by 2020.
In total, Greece produces more than 5 million tonnes of residential and commercial urban waste on an annual basis which is an equivalent total of 480kg per person. In Greece, approximately 50% of solid waste is deposited in sanitary untreated landfills, while the remainder is dumped in over 500 illegal landfills throughout Greece. New sanitary landfills and treatment plants along with composting facilities and waste transit stations have been constructed but at the current time more plants and recycling infrastructure is required to meet the directives and demand. A number of municipalities have introduced recycling programmes but demand for more effective programmes remains and it is clear that foreign expertise is required from private companies.
In terms of regional waste production, Attica represents the largest producing of waste, accounting for 39% of Greece's total urban waste. Central Macedonia accounts for 16% of all urban waste and the city of Thessaloniki, 9% share. The participants of urban waste are listed below:
29% - Paper;
14% - Plastic;
40% - Organic;
3% - Metals;
3% - Glass;
3% - Idle; and
8% - Other
Plastic materials recycling is listed as third most profitable industry worldwide although this is not the case in Greece with over a third of all waste being from plastic but only one percent being recycled. In total, Greece throws away approximately three billion bottles each year and the fact that only a very small percentage of plastic is recycled in Greece, suggests a business opportunity for private firms to invest in plastic waste treatment facilities.
At the current time, Greece has no facilities for battery recycling. There are a total of 4 to 5 facilities in the European Union that can recycle batteries with the only constraint being that of the battery's weight. No batteries weighing more than 1500 grams can be recycled.
Electronic Equipment Recycling
The European Union introduced legislative framework to address the recycling of electronic goods which is termed WEEE (Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment). In the Greek market, the Appliances Recycling SA represents the main accountable body for the management and efficient operation of WEEE, being tasked with the collection and reuse of waste electronic equipment.
Greek legislation states that tyre importers and manufacturers are responsible for the disposal of all tyres and their delivery to the pre-assigned areas. Unfortunately, in Greece, 74% of all used tyres end up in ordinary dump areas.
Paper recycling is collected and separated from other materials and organisations follow set procedures for the collection of paper waste in Greece.
Household Waste Recycling
There has recently been a nationwide distribution of blue dumpster bins for recycling household waste with 4.3 million Greece citizens now having access to these blue bins. Plans are under discussion to increase the number of bins. Through the cooperation of 337 municipalities, more than 25,000 bins have been placed on the streets in Greece.
Greece's recycling market is expanding and in 2010, Greek municipalities produced 183,298 tons of recycable packages, representing an increase of 6% from 2009. In 2010, 415,904 tonnes of recyclable packages were collected from all Greek factories and industrial construction sites, In addition, 110,000 blue bins were placed across Greece and 360 waste-collecting trucks were put into use and six new recycling centres established. In addiiton, there were 15 hazardous waste management facilities active in the country.
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