Cyprus Mail

Collection of old batteries and appliances growing

Around 175 tonnes of batteries and 6,500 tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) have been retrieved since 2008-2009 by the companies AFIS and WEEE Electrocyclosis in Cyprus.

Both companies are cooperating with Green Dot Cyprus to provide solutions for the management of household batteries and electrical and electronic appliances which contain high levels of toxic substances and are hazardous for the environment and public health.

Green Dot General Manager Kyriakos Parpounas told the Cyprus News Agency that the aim for 2015 was to retrieve 45 tonnes of batteries and in the long run to be able to retrieve up to 80 tonnes per year.

Electrocyclosis on the other hand wants to retrieve 1,800 tonnes of EEE in 2015 whereas the aim is to reach up to 4,000 tons annually.
“So far we are satisfied with the progress of both systems (AFIS and Electrocyclosis), the infrastructure is being developed in a faster way than we first anticipated”, Parpounas said.

AFIS has set 2,800 specially designed bins all over Cyprus for the recycling of batteries. The bins have been placed in shops, malls, public buildings and schools. The batteries are then collected and taken to a licensed storage room in Limassol and then exported to a factory in Belgium for recycling.
Electrocyclosis has storage rooms for EEE where the local authorities, schools and shops can place their old appliances. All these appliances are then transferred to a special selection spot and those that can be reused are put aside. Parpounas said most of the appliances were being dismantled by licensed companies and then exported as raw material or accessories to factories abroad.

“Public response has been very encouraging, interest is always growing however in order for us to reach our goals each and every one of us must be alerted. We all have a role to play in this huge attempt,” he said.

On EEE recycle, Parpounas said the company was facing some issues as some people were selling their old appliances as scrap metal for cash rather than opting to recyle.

This was not very environmentally friendly, he said.

He also said that there were major delays in the implementation of the law for the setting of designated `green spots` where people can throw their old electrical and electronic appliances so they can be picked up and disposed of in the correct manner.

Parpounas said that there was very good cooperation and coordination with the local authorities but because of the financial crisis, they were facing difficulties in setting up networks.

“Because of this problem, a lot of people collect old metals and no regulations apply. This translates into major environmental dangers,” he added.

There was also some negligence on the implementation of the law.
“The delay in the implementation of the law for the `green spots` is another example of state negligence,“ Parpounas said.
According to Parpounas, before Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, there was no single law that regulated these matters and there was a lack of willingness from the institutions to work on environmental issues. He said that after the island joined the EU, laws were drafted and there was major attempt to raise public awareness.
“Unfortunately the institutions have not adapted and the laws are not being implemented. Much more is need that the EU laws that are drafted in Brussels,“ he said.
“When we start realising that waste management is a necessity and not a burden we will be able to see results.” (CNA)


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