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Forthcoming EU waste legislation to bring about changes in products and infrastructure, expert tells CNA

The Koshi waste processing plant

Forthcoming amendments in EU legislation concerning waste will bring about a series of changes in how products are designed, making it easier to recycle, reuse or repair them in the future, says Kyriakos Parpounas, the General Manager of Green Dot Cyprus.

In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, Parpounas notes, moreover, that changes will also affect national waste management units in Cyprus which “have been wrong anyway”. Installations, such as the integrated waste management unit at Kosi, in Larnaca District, will be hard to get EU funding in the future, he says.

Legislative changes are promoted in the framework of the EU`s Circular Economy Package, a set of measures that may enter into force by 2030. If adopted, the existing model of a product`s lifecycle will change, since as Parpounas notes, particular attention will be given to their design, in order to facilitate recycling, reuse or even repairing a product.

According to the General Manager of Green Dot, the model of “manufacturing a product – throwing it away – buying another product” will be a thing of the past. Changes in product design are estimated to save the EU 600 tonnes of recycled materials per year, he notes.

Proposed legislative amendments set the recycling threshold at 65% of municipal waste and at 75% of packaging waste by 2030, with Parpounas noting that they are very high and will probably prove to be unattainable for some materials.

He notes, moreover, that the new legislative regime will make available funding for mixed and residual waste management hard to reach, since preference will be given to units dealing with source-separated materials.

Units, such as the one in Kosi, that processes mixed waste, and which was deemed to be technologically advanced, may probably never get EU funding again, the General Manager of Green Dot underlines.

“Wrong designs”
Asked on the impact of EU changes on existing nationals designs for waste management, Parpounas says that they “have been wrong anyway” and underlines the future lack of funding these units will be faced with.

It is indicative that the EU aims to gradually limit the landfilling of municipal waste to 10% by 2030, preferring instead the separation of materials at source and the construction of recycling units that will process specific materials.

Replying to another question concerning the potential cost that the new legislation will entail, the Green Dot official notes that existing plans also cost dearly to citizens. “Infrastructure always comes with a cost, but it will not be as great as that of wrong designs we were planing to implement” Parpounas tells CNA.

He goes on to say that separation at source provides the opportunity to build waste management infrastructure, that is a lot cheaper.

Furthermore, Parpounas observes that the institutional framework for waste management in Cyprus faces many shortcomings since “it remains the same for the last ten years, without major alterations”. There have been taken some decisions to move on, but they are too little too late, he goes on. “Pay as you throw” and high fees to deter the use of landfills are some of the measures that should have been introduced yesterday, Parpounas adds.

Finally, he notes that Cyprus should claim the right to an extension period, in order to implement new waste targets, as other member states, such as Greece, have already achieved.

Otherwise, Cyprus might face high fines in the future, the General Manager of Green Dot warns and points to the penalties for Greece, that reach up to €15,000 per day for each landfill that remains in operation.

CNA



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