Recycling is the processing of used materials to make new products.  Specifically, used materials are collected, classified and transformed into raw material, which is used to produce new products. Sorting and initial separation is usually performed by institutional individual and collective “Alternative Management Systems”. These are companies approved by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change to manage specific recyclable material.

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The institutional framework, combined with social awareness, have led companies to design and implement recycling programmes/actions for materials used and discarded as a result of their activities. At the same time, they cooperate with companies involved with the collection, sorting and promotion of such materials for sale on the market.

Significant investor interest is focused on the construction of recycling plants, which can process material such as paper, glass, plastic, batteries, tyres etc. Such investments can be made by private investors, Local Authorities or through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).


Advantages - Environmental Benefits

The recycling of materials entails numerous economic, environmental and social advantages.

  • Reduction of raw materials and water used, which means lower mining and processing costs for raw materials. Moreover, the production of products using recycled materials saves energy while reducing atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gases (methane, CO2 etc.). Indicatively, each ton of recycled glass saves 1.2 tonnes of raw materials (sand, sodium carbonate soda, limestone and cullet), as well as 180-200 litres of oil.
  • Sorting recyclables from other urban waste reduces the volume of waste ending up at landfill sites and illegal waste dumps, while landfill locations are accepted more easily by society.
  • Local communities gain significant funds from recycling at municipal level and the cost of waste management is lower for Local Authorities, which also signifies lower municipal charges.
  • Business operations are environmentally upgraded thus complying with the applicable legal framework and improving competitiveness.
  • The standard of living improves and environmental education and awareness are strengthened.

Institutional Framework

Legislation imposes the separate collection of recyclable waste from the rest of domestic waste, and its management at special collection points set up for this purpose. Moreover, the legislative framework specifies the producer’s liability (of packer, importer, manufacturer) of the above products with respect to the adequate organization and financing of alternative management tasks. For this reason, Individual and Collective “Alternative Management Systems” have been established per type of recyclable material managed. Currently, systems exist for Packaging Materials (paper, aluminium, glass, plastic, tinplate), Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) & Lamps, Waste Batteries & Accumulators, Waste Oils, Waste Tyres, End-of-Life-Vehicles (ELV), Construction, Demolition and Excavation (CD&E) waste.

Recycling plants are subject to licensing procedures; establishment and operation licenses are issued by the competent Decentralized Administration and the Region. For further information, interested parties can consult the Hellenic Recycling Agency (EOAN, formerly known as EOEDSAP)