Mandatory recycling, separation and collection of organic waste needs to be introduced in Cyprus, former Environment Commissioner and lecturer at the Cyprus University of Technology (TEPAK) Charalambos Theopemptou was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, Theopemptou said it would take 20 years for Cyprus to reach the levels of other European countries, and that would be only after it began to implement best practices.
On the issue of waste management he said: “Unfortunately we are really bad. We are unacceptable”.
He said Cyprus was ranked last among its European counterparts when it came to waste ending in landfills. Also the average Cypriot produces two kilos of rubbish a day, a greater volume than any other EU citizen, he said.
Theopemptou said the establishment of social waste management companies should be regulated by legislation and fines imposed on people who break the law “throwing their waste wherever they want” should be increased.
The relevant EU directive categorises waste management into five stages: prevention, preparation for reuse, recycling, energy recovery and disposal. However, nowadays the “three Rs rule” has prevailed, reduce, reuse and recycle.
Despite the fact that the triple Rs rule has for many years been widespread in Europe, Cyprus still has a long way to go, said Theopemptou. “We have put it on paper but we still haven’t seen in concrete practices and examples in practice. The reuse policy is almost unknown to us,” he added.
Theopemptou considers organic waste “a huge problem” for Cyprus because it ends up in landfills
“when we could use it to make pellets and briquettes for fireplaces, and by composting”.
People should have a bin just for organic waste – plant and animal residues, cooked food, cut branches, grass, dry leaves and twigs – while a company should undertake the responsibility to collect, process and sell new products from this waste, he said. Composting would also lead to the creation of new jobs.
An official at the environment department did say on Tuesday that legislation was on the way to deal with organic waste. Kallirroi Christofi said domestic composting was one of the measures.
This month, a public hearing will be held with stakeholders, she said.
“Local authorities will be able to submit to the department of the environment a comprehensive programme of solid waste management, and if a municipality proposes the promotion of domestic composting, it would claim funding for the composters,” she said, adding that the cost of domestic composters was not very high, ranging from €30-€40.
Christofi said the Department was currently planning an educational programme targeted at local authorities, households and businesses. (CNA)