Cyprus Mail

Government to push pay as you throw rubbish scheme

Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis wants to pass a new law on garbage collection fees by the end of the year based on the usage-pricing model “pay as you throw.”

Kadis told the Cyprus News Agency the model, which has been implemented in several European countries, was chosen after studying several pricing schemes.

Under this regime, users will pay in advance for all the garbage they wish to be collected, by purchasing a custom bag, at a relatively high cost.

“People will try to fill as few bags as possible so as to pay less,” he said. “They will be pushed to recycle more and the bags will only be filled with materials that cannot be recycled,” he added.

Waste for disposals in treatment plants such as Koshi or Pentakomo will only be discarded in the custom bags, the cost of which will act as an incentive for more recycling.

“The way of calculating the collection fees will change, based on the amount of the waste that someone generates,” the minister said.

The bill, which provides for source separated recycling and pay as you throw programs, is currently under public consultation, and in the next few days, the minister will have meetings on the issues with the union of municipalities and communities.

Kadis hopes the consultation will be completed within the next few weeks. The bill will then be sent to the Legal Service for processing.

“We hope that processing would not take much time, because it is very important. Soon after, the bill will have to go from the cabinet to parliament for discussion and approval. I would be happy if this process could be completed in 2019, but there are unpredictable factors such as legislative checks and the debate in the Parliament, ” he said.

The responsibility for waste management was assigned to the ministry of agriculture two years ago. Mismanagement, delays, and even corruption had emerged in the past in relation to waste management and Cyprus was faced with the risk of fines imposed by the European Union due to delays in the closure of landfills.

“One of the biggest challenges for our ministry is the proper management of waste, for environmental, good administration and quality of life reasons,” the minister noted.

He said his intention was to support the municipalities in the transitional period, after the closure of Kotsiatis landfill and the increased cost of refuse collection.

Kadis added that they have agreed with the municipalities that they should work together to move towards new directions of more rational management of municipal waste that would respect environment, health and lead to a better quality of life.  Waste management, he said, must be in line with the cyclical economy, through the use of waste as raw materials.

The ministry`s objective was a more radical and integrated solution to the problem by reducing the waste that ends up in the management units so that the cost would ultimately be reduced to a minimum.

“We will support municipalities to implement such programs. My intention was instead of giving municipalities cash now to cover the increased cost, to give them funding to build new infrastructure, new programs based on this philosophy.”

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