Households will be obliged to separate their hazardous waste from garbage that will go to landfills as of January 2025. Agriculture Minister Maria Panayiotou said on Friday.

“Hazardous waste such as chemicals, electronics, batteries and pharmaceuticals that we use every day pose serious risks that we often ignore,” she said.

“These objects or substances, in one way or another, return to our body, after they have poisoned the fauna and flora. Everything we throw to the earth comes back to us.”

The minister was taking part in a presentation related to a project launched in 2021 titled “Separate collection and management of hazardous waste from households”, ahead of the obligation for the public to do so.

“Waste is not just garbage that should end up in landfills. It is a natural resource that if properly recovered and recycled, can be turned into raw materials for new production processes and given a second life. This, after all, is the definition and importance of the circular economy,” the minister added.

“We must ensure that every citizen understands the value of separating hazardous waste from other waste.”

The 39-month project, which ends this month, was launched to raise public awareness.

It was implemented by the department of the environment, in collaboration with the Nicosia development company and financed by the ‘Norway Grants Programming 2014-2021’, with a budget of €500,000.

The minister said the project involved creating four mobile units, which visited 135 local authorities, including 91 small communities and 44 municipalities. This was achieved over a period of five months, starting last October, the minister said.

They also visited primary and secondary schools. The estimated number of students who participated was 7,231, while an additional 9,799 members of the public visited the units.

A large amount of hazardous household waste was also collected during the awareness campaign.

“Our goal is to increase the number of units, mobile and fixed, for even better results,” Panayiotou said.

She said that additionally, the new system extends to the creation of a unit to deal specifically with pharmaceuticals, which is yet to be licensed. This will deal with the transportation, storage and disposal.

The minister also highlighted the contribution of local authorities, which she said was essential both in terms of raising awareness and in the management and implementation of the measures.

“With the correct implementation of the separate collection of hazardous household waste, we fulfill not only our legal obligations, but also contribute to the wider movement of environmental management and a more sustainable future for all of us,” Panayiotou said.