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Newsletter December 2009


Waste Management: Sustainable Development 

As Greece proceeds to implement new practices related to waste management, significant opportunity exists for investors with innovative solutions to participate in the sustainable management of waste.

One of the areas that will see a radical shift in practices is that of packaging and packaging materials. In accordance with EU directives, Greece is putting into place programs to recover 60% of packaging waste by 2011, by which time it must also recycle 55-80% of packaging and, by 2010 reduce its urban bio waste by 25%.

Regarding biodegradable waste the target is to decrease the amount deposited in landfills to 1,100 tonnes/year for 2010 and 1,950 tonnes for 2013. These targets will be achieved by operating biodegradable waste processing units and paper recycling units.

Although Greece has decreased its urban waste volume considerably in the last several years due to recycling, to an annual rate of 5.2 million cubic metres, and has increased the recycling of home waste from 6% in 2004 to 25% today, significant challenges remain and major advances are called for in this area.

The improvements to date have led to a decrease in carbon monoxide emissions is 380,000 tonnes per year and the conservation of energy is at the level of 2,600,000 GJ (gigajoules).

All countries are to process their waste as much as possible by producing energy and compost and by enforcing recycling more. Waste is to be sent to landfills only as a residue: whenever it cannot be exploited any more. Such regulations should be viewed as opportunities by companies that have the technology to treat waste at any step of the disposal stream in a way that meets these requirements.

Significant Opportunity
Investment in the waste management sector is facilitated through Greece’s Investment Incentives Law, the PPP Scheme (Private-Public Partnership), as well as through the sizeable business programme within the 2007-2013 National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF).

Today, there are three significant projects under the Public-Private Partnership scheme with a total value of 380 million Euro; they have been approved and are awaiting announcement as bids for tender. The projects are: 1) the unit for solid waste processing in the northwest prefecture of Thessaloniki, 2) the operation of a complete waste unit for total urban solid waste management in the region of West Macedonia and 3) the construction of maintenance and technical management of a new infrastructure sewerage network and a processing unit for waste in the Municipality of Rafina. Also, based on regional planning, projects which fall under the 2007-2013 National Strategic Reference Framework and are slated for implementation are: 54 hygienically controlled landfills, 76 loading stations, 37 machine processing and fertilizer units, 2 energy efficiency units, 112 inert landfills, and 42 recycling centres.

Progress in Packaging
Indicative of the dynamic developments in Greece is the significant progress made in the area of packaging.

One of the most important initiatives in Greece to deal with packaging is through the Hellenic Recovery Recycling Corporation (HERRCO) S.A. Founded in 2001, HERRCO has developed and implemented the Collective Alternative Management System RECYCLING CAMS in Greece with the share participation of major enterprises that generate packaging in their everyday activities.

More than 1450 companies have joined the CAMS System of HERRCO, demonstrating the willingness of commercial enterprises to contribute their efforts in this vital area.

Greek legislation obliges all enterprises that import, produce, or supply packaged goods to the domestic market to be responsible for the collection and recycling of the packaging they use. This legislation regulates primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging used in the Greek market, packaging waste from all sources (industry, commerce, offices, stores, agencies and households).

Although not part of the HERRCO system , other products including tyres, batteries, furniture, and electric and electronic goods are also being collected and processed. 

The amount of packaging materials the participating companies declared amounts to 565,749 tonnes, accounting for 12.6 billion packaging items to date.

Packaging classified by material:



   Liquid Carton








(in tonnes)











Within the HERRCO initiative recycling is done within four primary areas.

Recycling of packaging waste stemming from municipal waste (blue bins/recycling sorting plants, RSP)

These projects aim at developing the blue recycling bin network; the residents of Municipalities are called upon to use these bins to dispose of recyclable materials (packaging waste from paper, plastic, glass, aluminium and tin). The collected stream is then transported to Sorting Centres where the recyclable materials are separated and forwarded for recycling. This is a sector exclusively addressed to the general public and developed in cooperation with local authorities, as set forth in the existing legal framework. It is a sector that is set to experience significant growth in the near future.
Recycling of packaging waste stemming from Industrial and Commercial Packaging Waste (ICPW)

This area relates to creating financial incentives for enterprises active in the field of recycling, mainly in paper and metals, as well as other materials.
Special actions aimed at the collection and recycling of packaging waste from large producers (entertainment facilities, hotel complexes, organized beaches)

The aim of these special actions is to create as clear and pure packaging waste streams as possible at their point of production: they focus mainly on glass and plastic.
Agreements with municipal or non-municipal bodies

Agreements with the Association of Communities and Municipalities in the Attica Region – A.C.M.A.R.—aimed at the energy recovery of packaging waste.

Results (data from 31/12/2008)

Today, the actions undertaken by HERRCO have made it possible for approximately 7 million residents throughout Greece to enjoy recycling. About 20 Recycling Sorting Plants (RSP) in total are in operation under the responsibility or funding of HERRCO.

From the commencement of the system’s operation (essentially in 2004) to the present, investments amounting to about 55 million Euro have been made, and more than 70 million Euro have been spent on the operation of HERRCO’s recycling projects and activities. The amount of packaging waste recovered in 2008 has increased by more than 21% compared with 2007 and has reached approximately 416,000 tonnes. The amount recovered through blue bins in 2008 increased by 73% over 2007.