Re Cy Clean: Is There a Recycling Program in Cyprus
Cyprus is a green island boasting a great ecology free of hazardous industry plants. It’s fair to say it’s the most important country’s image making asset, its pride and joy. But it takes a lot of effort to hold this bar high. The issues of sea and coastline pollution control appear on the agenda regularly. There are also problems with the growing amount of plastic waste as in many developed economies. Let’s have a look at the recycling system in Cyprus and how to participate correctly.
First things first: why do we need recycling at all? Recycling aims to use processed waste for making new products reducing the consumption of new raw materials, energy usage, and environmental pollution caused by landfilling.
Recycled plastic bottles for instance may be reborn as mattrasse feeling, sports and outerwear, food containers, tubes, cables, spare car parts and new plastic bottles of course.
Glass is 100% recyclable. Upcycled it helps reduce CO2 emission by 30% while manufacturing.
Paper is a bit more demanding. When processed its fibers become too short (and non-recyclable after 5-7 cycles) so they need adding new raw material for new paper manufacturing. Nevertheless one ton of recycled newsprint helps save a ton of wood, and the same amount of office paper saves twice more wood.
When recycled batteries give metals for new ones which again contributes to saving materials and energy. But this particular type of waste needs to be treated extremely carefully as all the batteries contain toxic substances released into the environment when dumped into landfills which may end up in animals’ and people’s bodies.
And the bigger picture makes it clear: when we reuse (buy things we sure we will use or wear over and over again), reduce (our consumption of disposable things) and recycle — we care about not just ecology on planet Earth, but ourselves. It’s easy to see because a steady and healthy environment directly affects people’s health. And good health improves the quality of living. It’s time to admit that the sorting and recycling of consumer waste has long been not a fashion, but a crucial part of a conscious person’s daily life.
Types of waste eligible for recycling in Cyprus
There are several non-profit organizations certified by the Government which collect and manage materials subject to recycling including:
- PMD — plastic, metal and paper drinks packaging, pesticide packaging, glass and paper (Green Dot Cyprus Ltd);
- textiles (Anakyklos Perivallontiki; Cyprus Association of Cancer Patients and Friends (PASYKAF));
- dry portable batteries weighing up to 2 kg (AFIS Cyprus Ltd);
- WEEE — Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE Electrocyclosis Cyprus Ltd).
One can dispose these materials and equipment using the appropriate bins:
- blue bin for PMD;
- brown bin for paper;
- green bell-shaped bin for glass;
- purple metal bin for clothes, shoes, bags, bed linen collection as well as brown-and-green PASYKAF bin (can be located by typing ‘PASYKAF CLOTHES COLLECTION’ in Google Maps);
- 10 and 20 liter column bin looking like huge battery for batteries (located inside supermarkets, bakeries, banks, schools etc.);
- orange bin for pesticide packaging (can be found near large retail stores offering such chemicals. The full list of locations (in Greek).);
- large white container with green WEEE mark for electric devices (near electronics retail outlets, as well as at specialized collection points);
- blue barrel with images of lightbulbs on it for lamps (can be found near lightning appliances stores).
Locations of most bins are available through a free mobile app ‘RecyclingCy’ or by calling 7000 0090.
So what can be put into a PMD bin: plastic bottles, plastic and metallic food, cosmetics and household products containers, plastic bags, aluminum beverage cans, paper-based drink packaging (Tetra Pak type). One is suggested to rinse all these empty packages to remove food and chemical remains and quicken the recycling process. PMD does not include plastic toys, furniture, aluminium foil, snack packets (biscuits, crisps, pasta etc. — it is usually stated on the bag), disposable cutlery, plates and cups, polystyrene and styrofoam.
When sorting paper waste wrapping paper, toilet paper and napkins, stickers, drinks cartons (as we already know they relate to PMD), disposable paper plates and cups must be laid aside. Paper food containers, cardboard boxes, newspapers, magazines, leaflets and office paper all go straight into the brown bin or brown bag.
The very fact of sorting glass seems to be counterintuitive, but there are some nuances too. Green bell-shaped containers should basically store only glass bottles and jars. So no glass panes, light bulbs, porcelaine, stoneware or glassware.
Purple ‘Anakyklos Perivallontiki’ and ‘PASYKAF’ containers (both are charity initiatives) are designated to collect primary wearable textiles which can be reused and given to those in need or sold for charity purposes. But other clothes and fabrics are accepted too as they are sent for further recycling.
AFIS bins cover all types of dry portable batteries weighing up to 2 kg, rechargeable and non-rechargeable. Common types of batteries included are button-shaped, AA / (L) R06, AAA / (L) R03, C / (L) R14, D (L) R20,4.5V / 3 (L) R12, 9V6 (L) R61F22, AA / NC06, AAA / NC03, C / NC14, D / NC20, 9V / NC22 etc.
Things that can be recycled under WEEE Directive include: large and small household appliances, IT and telecommunications equipment, consumer equipment, lighting equipment (including fluorescent, halogen, sodium and LED lamps), electrical and electronic tools and toys, leisure and sports equipment, medical devices, monitoring and control instruments, automatic dispensers. Incandescent lamps are excluded from this category.
The reason that only few materials are collected is because the Recycling Program existing in Cyprus now concentrates only in the collection of material which can easily and efficiently be recycled. Separate collection and sorting costs, and it is not cost effective for anybody to collect and sort material which cannot or cannot easily be recycled.
In larger populated areas special Green Dot vehicles pick up bags with PMD and paper from the pavement outside the houses once a week. It makes the process easier for residents and helps to collect better sorted waste as opposite to the bins which are not always properly used. Recycling bags can be purchased in any supermarket: clear ones for PMD and light brown for paper — both have specific labels and instructions on them. Paper can also be stored in cardboard boxes or tied in piles. In tourist areas and certain communities PMD and Paper categories should be carried properly sorted to the recycling bins closest to them and placed in these bins accordingly.
Based on the safety purposes glass packaging is collected in green bell-shaped bins only, to which individuals should carry their glass.
Collection days for particular areas can be found on the free mobile app ‘RecyclingCy’ or by phone 7000 0090. One can also find batteries collection bins’ locations there, though they are usually very easy to locate in any grocery shop or bakery.
Textile collection bins are often situated in crowded places such as parks and beaches entrances, malls and supermarkets, educational institutions.
Apart from specially designed bins used mobile phones, telecommunications equipment and accessories can be also taken to any Cyta outlet (Cytashop, Aeliotis, Soundtech, Hadjimitsis, Smart Com).
Besides there are licensed Green Points throughout Cyprus where one can bring properly sorted bulky waste for free. They are designed to prevent illegal disposal practices of throwing waste in open spaces which are penalized with severe fines. During each visit one can dispose up to 50 kg of waste of the following sorts:
- Inert materials — Spoil
- Do It Yourself (tiles, sanitary equipment etc)
- Cumbersome waste (furniture, mattresses, carpets)
- Electrical and electronic equipment waste
- Green pruning
- Plastic pails
- Paper / cardboard boxes
- Metallic objects (scrap, radiators etc)
- Temperature gauges
- Spot lights
- Purifying materials
- Colours (paint), inks, adhesives, resins
- Edible oils and fat
- Motor oils
- Car batteries and other domestic use
- Electric batteries and accumulators
One can also use a service of waste transportation to a Green Point with charges fixed by municipality. For example in Limassol the charges will be as follows: for an extended cab pickup truck full of pruning or oversized waste: €20, for a half full truck: €50, for a full truck: €90.
Green Points’ locations and phone numbers by districts:
- Nicosia: Strovolos (behind Leroy Merlin) (99950161), Ergates (99950290), Peristerona, Kokkinotrimithia (99950163), Astromeritis, Linou (99950288), Alampra (99950162), Malounta (99950266);
- Limassol: Fasoula (96 089521), Kolossi (96 241551), Parekklisia (96 094716), Avdimou (96 094135);
- Paphos: Chloraka, Pegia (99472590), Koloni, Agia Varvara, Polis Chrysochous;
- Larnaca-Famagusta: Aradippou, Athienou, Dromolaxia, Anafotia, Kofinou, Pyrga.
What happens after collection? All materials go to sorting stations accordingly. Then checked and sorted once more, as in spite of widely circulated instructions it is common for bins and recycling bags to contain a lot of extra waste. Prepared volumes are then being sent to recycling plants in Europe. Clothes, shoes and linen in a good condition go to the charity shops.
The rest is provided to beneficiaries with the help of social services. And unwearable textile waste is being shipped to mainland Europe for upcycling.
So there are no recycling plants in Cyprus and local waste does not go through the full cycle here. But this also contributes to maintaining the green status of the country responsible for its own resources wise usage. Recycling needs a lot of water and energy which are rather expensive in Cyprus. The only substance that can be reproduced on the island is glass. It is crushed and used as raw material for the production of cement and other building materials.
The bottom line is: let’s be selfish! Let’s save this planet for ourselves. Let’s also try to buy only things that we know we will use or wear again and again and ditch single-use plastic. Reduce, reuse, recycle and may the zero waste life be with you.