Recycling is the processing of materials which we may have initially considered waste, retain some of their value and can be reused, benefiting the environment and economy.

Our way of life has considerably changed the composition of the garbage we produce on a daily basis, while the amount of packaging which is thrown away has risen significantly. The production of packaging waste constitutes a major source of pollution and, at the same time, a waste of natural resources, which must be minimized to the greatest extent using all possible means.

According to law 2939 on "Packaging and Alternative Management of Waste and Other Products", which aims to harmonise national legislation with corresponding EU laws, specifically EU guideline 62/94, recycling has been enacted into law and specific goals set. The law requires that by 2001 55-80% of packages which are currently disposed of as waste must be recycled, while 60% must be recovered and used as an energy source. Also, certain special categories of waste, such as batteries, tyres, electrical appliances, must be recycled.

According to community directive 99/31/EK and the joint ministerial decision (no. 29407/3508), by 2010 biodegradable urban waste must be reduced by 25% in relation to the volume produced in 1995. The figure must reach 50% by 2013 and 65% by 2020.

Following a pilot phase of its recycling programme, the City of Athens introduced an extensive recycling scheme comprising 4 interlinked systems for urban and commercial waste. The City of Athens has implemented approved systems for the recycling of special forms of waste which it recovers.

The municipal authority aims to upgrade the current recycling programme qualitatively and quantitatively, in order to meet the needs of all citizens and for each citizen to have access (a distance of less than 100 metres) to the City's recycling programme. Initially, the qualitative goal is 1kg of sorted-at-source recyclable items per citizen on a weekly basis. Gradually, and once citizens show their support for the recycling programme, a number of simple garbage bins will be replaced with recycling bins.

Benefits of recycling

Reducing waste pollution is of crucial importance. It involves decreasing the volume of waste, processing it in an environmentally-friendly manner and redistributing the recycled material. The burial of waste is not a solution due to the environmental consequences and the risk of soil and water table pollution. The only solution is widespread recycling of waste. Recycling conserves primary resources and energy.


Indicatively, the recovery and reuse of one tonne of recyclable aluminium prevents 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from being released into the atmosphere, while the recycling of one tonne of paper saves 17 trees. The benefits of recycling are not limited to the environment but also impact on citizens. Recycling and alternative waste management comprises one of the fastest-developing industries. New jobs are created and significant resource conservation is achieved, thereby promoting economic development. The benefits are even greater for citizens if one takes into account the fact that the City of Athens pays the Association of Attica Municipalities & Communities €17 million each year for sanitary waste disposal. Recycling will bring economic savings as well as free the Municipality from its dependence on other bodies for the management of its waste.




Athens City Hall
63A Athinas St, Kotzia Square, Athens 10552, Greece
Tel: +30 210 3722001
Administration Building
22 Liossion St, Athens 10438
Tel: 1595

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