Green Dot to manage packaging waste ...membership reaches 110 and growing Green Dot (Cyprus) Public Co. Ltd., a not-for-profit organisation set up on the initiative of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with leading industrial and commercial companies, is ready to commence operations to satisfy the legal and regulatory requirements pertaining to packaging waste. Green Dot (Cyprus) General Manager Kyriakos Parpounas told the Financial Mirror that Green Dot Cyprus is taking steps to establish a national packaging management system, which once operational will allow Cyprus to meet its EU obligations regarding packaging waste management, recycling and meeting environmental targets. “We are at the last stage before we commence full operations,” said Parpounas, explaining that the relevant permits from the Council of Ministers are expected to be issued soon in order to comply with legislation on packaging waste that has been in effect since January 1, 2006. Green Dot Cyprus is a member of PRO EUROPE, the European umbrella organisation of Green Dot schemes, and aims to provide a cost-effective packaging management system in cooperation with the local authorities (Municipalities) and the public. By joining the Green Dot system, manufacturers and importers of every type of product that needs packaging will be able to fulfil their legal obligations concerning the recycling and recovery of used packaging. The packaging and packaging waste laws set specific targets which have to be achieved by organisations in an individual or collective way. Parpounas explained that as of January 1, 2006 when the legislation came into force, companies are responsible for recovering at least 50% of their packaging waste & recycling 25% of the total with a minimum 15% recycling criteria per packaging material (glass, paper, plastic, metals, wood etc.) More than 110 large Cypriot companies are already either shareholders or members of Green Dot Cyprus with the list growing fast. Some of the names now cooperating with Green Dot include the Shacolas Group, Orphanides, CA Papaellinas, Papantoniou, Carrefour Chris Cash & Carry, Metro, Ambrosia, McDonalds, Lanitis Bros., KEO, Cosmos Trading, Photos Photiades Group, Iakovos Photiades, Electroline, Hadjikyriakos and Mallouppas & Papacostas to name a few. In an attempt to gain valuable expertise, Green Dot has brought in consultants from Belgium to learn from their experience and the overall European experience. Transferring responsibility By virtue of the Law and the Regulations, packagers and importers of packed goods are responsible for collecting and sorting packaging waste and ensuring that such waste is directed for re-use or to authorised treatment facilities. In effect companies have two choices. Either do this on their own or join a collective scheme like Green Dot and in the process transfer their legal responsibilities to the collective system. This may explain the rush with which companies are now joining Green Dot, as it offers them the most cost-effective solution to stay within the provisions of the law, but at the same time, help in efforts to make Cyprus a cleaner and environmentally friendly place. The Green Dot “Mark” Any product with the registered trademark of Green Dot means that the company selling the product is a member of Green Dot. It does not mean that the packaging is from recycled products or that it can be necessarily better used than others for recycling. Parpounas commented that companies producing or importing products bearing on their packaging the “Mark” should contact Green Dot Cyprus to learn about their obligations as soon as possible. Packaging Means every product made of any material of any nature, ranging from raw materials to processed goods, from the producer to the user or the consumer. Packaging consists of (a) sales packaging or primary packaging meaning the packaging of a singly product (shelve packaging); (b) grouped packaging or secondary packaging meaning packaging used to transport products in primary packaging to the point of sale (brown corrugated cardboard or other) and (c) transport packaging or tertiary packaging, meaning packaging used to protect and transport secondary packaging (wooden pallets, straps, wrappings etc.) Parpounas said that once the relevant permits are received, Green Dot will first target the industrial waste groups (b) and (c) with waste collectible at factory level or warehouses, while the primary collection of waste from households in cooperation with the Municipalities will start at a later stage but during 2006. In order to be able to operate effectively, Green Dot requires all member firms to provide it with the actual amount of packaging placed by the companies on the market with the additional requirement to understand and accept that spot checks and audits will be run every year to verify the information. The current legislation allows small operators with up to 5 tons of packaged product sales within a year not to abide by the tough provisions of the legislation. This means that smaller producers or importers, placing in the market under 5 tons a year does not need to join a collective system like Green Dot, but Parpounas is hoping that the drive to go environmentally friendly and the support & persuasion from the government will convince big and small to join. Types of waste Parpounas said the main group of products targeted by Green Dot are paper, plastic, wood, metal and glass (packaging materials). He explained that Green Dot is not a recycling or a waste management company but will help in the development of waste processing companies. At the moment there are a number of small plastic and aluminium recycling plants in Cyprus, and some processing plants for glass, paper and metal waste. The treatment plants usually separate the waste, with the good recycled part used back by the same or another industry to produce the same type of goods, while the residual waste that can not be recycled may be used to produce alternative sources of energy, such as the one aimed for Vassiliko for utilising waste after treatment as an alternative fuel in the production of cement. Culture change Parpounas acknowledges that Cyprus needs a major culture change regarding waste treatment and environmentally friendly policies, but is confident that with the right awareness effort from the System and the government and strict implementation of the law, the public will react positively and cooperate. In any event, Cyprus has no choice since if it does not implement the law then it will be the subject of penalties from Brussels, and from 2013 onwards, will look to even tougher criteria to meet. “Germany, Belgium, France, Scandinavian and other countries have met and surpassed the EU targets on waste management while other member states are behind. Unfortunately, Cyprus is way behind even compared to some of the other new member states, which is why for the good of our country, we need to rush and embrace this concept,” concluded Parpounas.