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Price hike fears over ‘pay as you throw’ scheme

feature theo main the purple bag pay as you throw system will be implemented islandwide in 2024
The pay as you throw bags

The proposed reform on waste management – the “pay as you throw” scheme – is expected to result in an annual increase of approximately €140 per person across Cyprus.

This reform, which is being promoted nationwide, comes amidst concerns over Cyprus’ low recycling rate of just 15 per cent, with 65 per cent of waste still ending up in landfills.

These issues, along with others related to the new legislation on waste collection, were discussed during Wednesday’s House environment committee, with several MPs expressing strong concerns.

After the meeting, committee president Charalambos Theopemptou said that in 2022 amendments to waste management legislation and the introduction of the “pay as you throw” system were discussed and approved by the committee. The main objectives were to increase recycling rates, ensure proper management of organic waste, and achieve the EU target of 55 per cent recycling and reuse by 2025.

Theopemptou said that some municipalities would start implementing the system in the second half of 2024, while others are still discussing implementation as late as 2026, expressing concern that the EU target might not be achieved.

One of the concerns voiced by MPs is that while in Europe a “pay as you throw” system dramatically reduces household expenses in Cyprus the system would result in an increase of approximately €140 per household annually.

Asked why the adoption of the system would incur the additional cost, Theopemptou explained that there would be a fixed fee of €180 per household regardless of whether recycling is practised or not.

Additionally, households practising recycling would receive a reduction in this fixed fee but would still incur a cost of around €140 for the purchase of special bags.

Furthermore, he pointed out that organic waste has significant value abroad as it can be used for biofuels and subsequently as fertiliser. In Cyprus, however, according to Theopemptou there is no energy production from waste, nor does the community benefit from the management of organic waste.

He then confirmed that the legislation for “pay as you throw” would be implemented on July 1, 2024, albeit admitting that it will be “challenging” for all municipalities.

Disy MP Prodromos Alambritis said that the most worrying aspect of the new legislation is the prediction that the cost for households will double due to the new rules.

“The state should take such initiatives to absorb this cost and not leave it to each household,” he said.

Alambritis’ worries were echoed by Akel MP Nikos Kettis, who also expressed concerns regarding the higher fees for households in Cyprus.

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