Cyprus Mail

Recycling collection up, but still ‘outside comfort zone’ for most Cypriot households 

Green Dot said on Tuesday said it collected 51,000 tonnes of waste last year, compared with 46,885 in 2014, an increase of 9 per cent.

Collection of household recyclables, which accounted for 23,809 tonnes, was up 5 per cent and commercial quantities rose 12.7 per cent, the company said in its annual report.

It said that the increase from the commercial sector showed a heightened interest in recycling and the development of new waste operators.

“The commercial waste recycled, is already close to the maximum quantities placed on the market. Therefore, any major increases in the recycled quantities in the future, must be achieved through increases in public participation – the household stream,” Green Dot said.

Surveys carried out by the company of a small sampling of people – around 700 – were not hugely optimistic for a major shift by the public.

The main findings of a first wave of the research showed that Cypriots do not easily link   environmental protection with quality of life and its improvement, and operated with an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality.  They are concerned mainly about the visible waste around in the fields but don’t bother about the rest.

“They declare that they are sensitive about environmental issues, but this is expressed more in words than in practical involvement,” the report said. “They are not ready to come out of their daily routine to manage their waste properly. They do what is convenient for them and for everything else they blame others.”

Those surveyed believed the public was more interested in the environment than the state institutions with 42 per cent saying Cypriots needed more information, 33 per cent calling for mandatory recycling laws and 24 per cent suggesting pay-as-you-throw.

The survey results suggested however that Cypriots do not actively seek information about recycling and expect it “come and find them”.

“They do not easily understand the meaning of waste reduction and what they should do to achieve it. They do not appreciate that they should change their consumer habits to achieve waste reduction.” The concept of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ is “almost completely unknown to the public”.

The report said people over 45 years old were more aware and much more active when it came to the environment.

Green Dot said that although last year there were positive results overall, there were two materials that still fell short in meeting specific recycling targets – glass and wood.

The glass recycling target was increased to 60 per cent of declared quantities compared to 15 per cent up until the end of 2012.

“We have already taken various measures to improve glass recycling reaching 40 per cent already. There is still plenty to be done especially in obligating pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants to recycle their glass since significant amounts of glass are lost to the trash today,” it said.

It has also taken action to improve wood recycling during 2015, but with limited success due to lack of waste treatment options. Green Dot said it had examined the practices in other member states and were in discussions with the authorities to initiate the reporting of the reconstruction of wooden pallets in recycling figures.

With respect to industry participation, 926 companies were registered in the system by end of 2015, some 88 being shareholders and 838 Members.

Membership however is not growing as quickly as expected due to limited support from the authorities, Green Dot said.

During 2015, 18 new audits were performed on packaging declarations by Ernst & Young and Deloitte. These resulted in 63 tonnes of packaging found under-declared or incorrectly declared (in the wrong category).  The company plans around 20 new audits in 2016.

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