Environment Department: Significant benefits from reusing glass

Environment Department: Significant benefits from reusing glass

The benefits from using waste glass are significant, Elena Christodoulidou, environment officer at the Department of Environment, has told CNA, noting that Cyprus has not yet managed to meet its goals for glass recycling.

In an interview with CNA, Christodoulidou said it was necessary to take drastic measures to increase the percentage of recycled glass and avoid EU fines.

Asked if glass was used as a construction material, Christodoulidou said “packaging glass, which is gathered from households and the commercial/industrial sector, is used in the production process for cement by Vassiliko Cement Works”, through the company of Enerco-Energy Recovery.

She noted that “another unit for glass processing has been given a license, MS (SKYRA) Vassas Ltd, which produces sand by crushing and grinding glass, to add to earthworks materials”.

Christodoulidou said “the processing companies and those for gathering and transporting have passed through a specific process to be granted a license for the management of waste”, adding that the list of all licensed waste managers is posted on the website of the Department of Environment.

Asked about the percentage of glass recycled in Cyprus, Christodoulidou said there were two European Directives concerning glass with specific aims. Regarding waste, Directive 98/2008/EU has been incorporated into the national legislation on waste, namely Law 185(Ι)/2011.

“According to this Law, there is an obligation to establish the separate collection of at least paper, metal, plastic and glass by the year 2015, not only packaging, such as glass bottles, jars, windows etc”, she said.

She added that by the year 2020 Cyprus will have to recycle 50% in total weight, in the sectors of preparing for reuse and recycling, of at least paper, metal, plastic and glass waste recovered from households, and possibly other sources.

Regarding packaging and packaging waste, Christodoulidou said Directive 94/62/EU has been incorporated into the national legislation on packaging and packaging waste, namely Law 32(Ι)/2002-2012.

The aim was by 31.12.2012 to recycle 60% of glass packaging, she said, adding that “we have only achieved 32.4% for the year 2012”. Although Cyprus has not met its objectives, it has recorded an increase since 2010, when the recycling of glass packaging stood at 25.2%.

Asked if the use of glass waste translated into saving money for the industry, Christodoulidou said that “in an age when the whole of Europe is debating a circular economy, the use of glass waste and in a broader sense all waste from industry, as resources, offers significant benefits to the industry itself as regards saving money and energy etc, as well as towards protecting the environment”.

She pointed out that “waste management through the use of waste in productive processes is a sector of economic activity which, under proper state supervision, can provide significant opportunities for development, employment, and healthy entrepreneurship, by opening new scopes, which have so far gone unexploited, contributing at the same time to restarting the economy”.

According to Christodoulidou, “it appears from the percentage of recycling that we have achieved that we have not yet reached the percentage demanded by the European Directives on glass packaging, while for other packaging materials, e.g. metal and paper, we have surpassed the aims set”.

For this reason, Christodoulidou notes, “there is a demand for drastic measures to increase these percentages and avoid fines from the EU”, noting that such measures could include new actions to promote separate collection, stricter checks and inspections by the authorities, action by the collective system, cooperation of all involved departments with the local authorities, and cultivating awareness among citizens.

In Cyprus, she said, “the responsibility of the producer is applied by the importers and packers of products, who undertake the cost of managing packaged products that become waste after use, through the Green Dot Cyprus system of packaging management”.

The collection of glass packaging is done with the green bell-shaped bins, which are deposited at central points in municipalities and communities.


** The interview is in the context of the project Rethink: Reduce- Reuse – Recycle which is funded by the EU programme LIFE+ (project code: LIFE13 INF/CY/000910) of the EU. Coordinating Beneficiary: CyBC. Partners: Green Dot Cyprus, Department of Environment, Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, CNA, Fost Plus Belgium **