Effective waste management can help minimise the sights and smells of rubbish tips. We have all seen bins filled to overflowing surrounded by bedding and discarded items. It’s a problem throughout the year but worst, of course, in summer. So please spare a thought for those who have to live near these areas. Nearby the owners of gardens and olive groves are fighting a constant and losing battle to keep their land clean.
It doesn’t have to be like this. We can all help by understanding and following the “effective waste management pyramid”:
- Reducing consumption – buy items with minimal packaging, reuse carrier bags, etc
- Sell or give away items you no longer need
- Recycle and compost
- Only dispose of items as a last resort
Recycling and composting are key components of any strategy to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. This page concentrates on recycling and separate pages on our site are devoted to composting.
Blue Bin Scheme
Blue bin recycling is operated by the Hellenic Recovery Recycling Corporation. Their excellent website – in Greek and in English – explains in detail:
The blue recycling bins are often used by citizens as regular garbage bins, inside which one finds the most unsuitable materials, indicating a lack of awareness that pervades much of the population.
There is a long list of materials that create problems for Blue bin Recycling. These include videotapes, gloves, sandpaper, leather items, CD and DVD disks, lamps and bulbs, toner inks, dolls and toys (even if plastic), wooden items, toothbrushes, shoes, clothes, garments and textiles in general, diapers, sellotape, mattresses, pens, photos, medical waste, batteries, appliances, branches, building materials, soil, fireworks and flares, plastic cutlery, paper towels, even unused, and broken glassware. If in doubt about an item put it in the general waste bins and not the blue bins.
Please note, however, that shoes, clothes and garments are welcomed in the “Red Bin” scheme.
Red Bin Scheme
The non-profit organisation Recycom manages the “Red Bin Scheme”, through which textiles are recycled. The bins can be found in many areas, including Kalamata and the Dimos of West Mani. Clothes, bags, belts, paired shoes and household linens are all welcome. A red bin is located at the entrance to the main car park in Kalamata and there is another at the Kostas Antonopoulos Veterinary Clinic.
After a selection, Recycom offers (in collaboration with the local authorities) the best quality clothes free of charge to local vulnerable groups and other organisations. It also offers clothing and food to cover basic needs in situations of extreme need, such as after natural catastrophes.
In a press release of 2016 (in Greek) the founder, Vangelis Arapis, explained that each year the average European citizen clears about 15 kilos of clothing from their wardrobe each year, only a small fraction of which is reused or recycled. Through the red bin scheme clothing and footwear in excellent condition is given to local homeless and needy people, or it is sent to other countries which have an urgent need – such as after a war or a natural disaster.
Please don’t put single shoes, or dirty or wet fabrics in the recycling bins.
Recycling Bottle Tops To Wheelchairs
Since the “Bottle Tops To Wheelchairs” scheme started in 2014, the collection of bottle tops for wheelchairs has continued to gain momentum with groups across Greece rallying the public and schools to collect plastic bottle tops.
Bottle tops are worth about 20 cents a kilo and so a ton of bottle caps (roughly 540,000) can yield €120, which is the starting price of a wheelchair. The cap movement, that began through social media, soon grew as people began to gather plastic bottle tops for a good cause. Schools, hospitals and many other organizations around Greece are all involved in drives to collect plastic caps to recycle in order to help the environment as well as people in need of wheelchairs.
Here in the Mani, local supermarkets are supporting the scheme. They have boxes for collecting bottle tops, usually by the entrance. You can collect the plastic covers of all packaging e.g. juice, milk, detergent, beverage, oil, or pen, but the caps must not contain any metal.
Small Devices, Lighting and Battery Recycling
The “Small Devices” scheme – operated by Electrocycle – allows you to recycle:
- Small electrical appliances such as coffee machines, vacuum cleaners, computers, televisions etc. The opening for the recycling bin is 43cm x 45cm so that defines the term “small appliance”.
- Mobile phones and accessories.
- Large appliances.
Most recycling points are at electrical shops such as Kotsovolos and Praktiker and there are many such points in Kalamata. Note that lamps should not be recycled in small appliance bins and vice versa. Please refer to the Electrocycle web page to locate where to recycle your items.
Cooking Oil Recycling
AB Stores support a full range of recycling including packaging, batteries, lamps, etc. But in addition they also support Revive in the recycling of cooking oil into biofuel: for each litre of recycled oil €0.03 is donated to the WWF. You can contact Revive at the call centre center: 210 2116524 or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.
Cars can be taken to any Alternative Management Centre bearing the ΕΔΟΕ sign. For more information contact the Department of Recycling Municipality of Kalamata (27213 60858) or visit the Alternative Vehicle Management Company Association (ΕΔΟΕ) website.
Tyres for vehicles, machinery and mineral oils can often be returned to their outlets for recycling. For professionals, it is sufficient to call the local collector and arrange a collection time. For more information visit the Eco Elastika website.
Construction waste – such as rubble – can be disposed of in Stavropigio after consulting the Collective System of Alternative Management of Excavation, Demolition and Construction Waste. Call 210-604-7497 or 694-483-8686.