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Recycling of Other Waste

Beyond the recycling system for packaging and rest recyclable materials there are also other type of waste for which currently there is not a particular recycling system. These materials are fabric/textiles, fried oil, medicine (medical waste) and Biodegradable materials.

Fabrics/Textiles: Old clothes, shoes and every other fabric item can be reused. Good quality, clean clothes can be donated to charities, non-commercial organizations, homeless institutions etc. In this way these materials are given to vulnerable groups of population and do not disposed of as waste. An alternative option is the sale of these materials in shops where second hand clothes are sold taking into account that nowadays these shops are fashionable.

Regarding bad qualities clothes and shoes can also be collected and recycled. Fill up car seats, work outfits, materials of heat and sound insulation are some of the uses of these recycled materials. For example recycled jeans are good raw materials for external house insulation materials. In Greece, Volos municipality organized a campaign for clothes and shoes recycling, while same campaigns it is expected to be organized by private cloths and shoes companies.

Fried Oils: A common practice for cooking oils are their disposal into the sinks resulted in fat accumulation in sewer pipes. Fried oils can be recycled into biofuels and can be used in place of fossil fuels, resulted in less environmental impacts due to less extraction and in minimization of fuel imports. In this way there is a positive impact both for households and the environement.

In Greece there are different companies activated in fried oil recycling.Some examples are listed below:

REVIVE – Collection of used cooking oil (http://www.revive.gr/)

The above mentioned companies are indicative for this continuing expanding sector. The fried oils are collected and transported to fuel industries and converted into biodiesel.

Biodegradable materials: They are organic materials which degrade progressively by microorganisms occurring in nature. According to European Union Direct all country members are obliged to reduce biodegradable materials that end up in landfills, and Greece obligations concerning the reduction of these materials, 35% of the amount of biodegradable materials of 1995 until 2020. Taking into account that annual municipal solid waste are consist of 50% of biodegradable materials, gradual reduction of these materials could result in significant environmental benefits and avoid a great amount of waste from the existing sanitary landfills. An option for biodegradable material reduction is compost technology, in which biodegradable material are turned into compost, an organic soil-fertilizer and soil improver. Materialsthatcanbecompostedare:

  • Kitchen waste such as peel of fruits and vegetables, eggs shells, coffee residues, coffee filters etc
  • Garden waste such as prunings, leaves, straw, grass, house plants, dried flowers, sawdust etc.
  • Kitchen paper, paper towels, hair, vacuum cleaner dust etc

On the contrary they cannot be composted animal products such as meat, milk, fat, animal dirt and plants infected with pests or newly sprayed.

Compost bins can be improvised or marketed. The compost produced is an organic fertilizer and soil conditioner used instead of regular soil for vegetable and flower plants growing in gardens and balconies.

Apart from household composting, in Greece, Compost Plants have been constructed to meet regulatory requirements, in the area of Liosia, Chania, Kalamata etc. More information regarding composting can be found in the website of the Ecological Recycling Society (www.ecorec.gr)

Medicine: Recycling of medicine has been promoted recently by National Organization of Medicine and the National Pharmaceutical Association, in Greece, placing 12,000 green color special medicine recycling bins in pharmacies throughout the country. Medicines are collected in pharmaceutical warehouse and then transferred to the Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Technology, which is responsible for their transportation to specialized centers of stabilization (αδρανοποίησης) and incineration abroad.

Moreover charities gather medicines and then donated to people who cannot afford medical care.

There are other waste materials, for which at present there is no recycling system.