The project “Close the food circle” in the Municipality of Papagos – Holargos seeks to co-design with the Municipality, the tools for the effective management of a new recycling system, that of food waste.
The active participation of all stakeholders (i.e. the municipality, citizens and businesses) is the basis of the project. It aspires to achieve the gradual change of citizens’ attitudes towards food waste and shape new habits, that of separating our waste at source in order to be recycled or otherwise utilised.
How it works:
The team is taking to the streets and invites everyone to reduce our environmental footprint together.
By starting with something we all do every day – eat food – and discover the value of food waste in our kitchens. We discuss what should be done but also what we can do, what tools are available and how the waste will eventually not end up in the landfill.
And why should anyone care? Because with simple actions we can save tons of carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants so we can all live in cleaner and healthier neighborhoods!
The project team will meet you in open markets, your local businesses, the schools, festivals, even your homes so you get to know what is hidden in our food waste and how at-source separation can be done. For example, did you know that anyone interested can get a mini-me of the brown bin, designed for kitchen use? Yes it is provided free of charge from the Municipality’s Cleaning Department! If you did not know, then go ahead and contact the Municipality or us!
Follow us on our social media to learn about all sorts of activities and let’s close the food cycle together!
Background and context:
The problem linked to the overproduction and management of organic waste is multidimensional.
It is an environmental problem as the non-utilisation of organic residues on the one hand pollutes the atmosphere, water and soil and on the other hand their disposal in the landfill automatically means the disposal of energy, soil/land area and water that were wasted for their cultivation as well as their path along the supply chain.
It is also a social problem both because the pollutants released are harmful to human health (it is estimated that more than 13,000 people lose their lives in Greece every year for reasons related to air pollution), but also because at the time they are all discarded these tons of organic matter, including food scraps suitable for human consumption, there are a little closer people in Greece who are malnourished.
Finally, the economic dimension is equally important since the ever-increasing costs and fines of improper waste management burden the local community and especially the citizens and businesses who ultimately repay these amounts. In addition, the food scraps that currently end up in the landfill are untapped valuable resources (bioenergy, soil improver, bioproducts, etc.) which could contribute economically to the local community. And of course, all organic matter has taken multiple financial and non-financial resources to grow, collect, transport, process and distribute to get the products to our kitchens—resources that are thrown into the landfill along with the organic waste itself.
Organic waste in Greece constitutes 40% of the total Urban Solid Waste, while each inhabitant of the country wastes 196 kg (IOBE, 2015) of food waste annually. Diverting enormous amounts of valuable resources from landfills and making use of them creates environmental, economic and social benefit.
The widely applied methods and current practices of Municipalities and Regions as competent bodies for municipal waste management are fragmentary, focusing for the time being on the formation of a regulatory framework related to the footprint of industries as a rule and do not approach the problem of organic residues from on the part of citizens and small and medium-sized businesses, despite the fact that our individual environmental behavior determines a very large percentage of the total burden. Based on data from EDSNA in 2019, Attica’s waste consists of 42.3% of organics, of which 82% is kitchen waste. Furthermore, taking into account the quantitative recycling figures so far, it is observed that even after almost 20 years of existence of the current recycling system (eg blue bin system), citizens do not participate in the right way.
The goal and the means for any proper, urban waste management system (including organic waste) can be traced in informing, educating citizens and actively involving them through sorting at the source thus effectively using the brown bins system. The biggest bet, therefore, is the successful shaping of our collective environmental behavior.
Informing, familiarizing and gradually involving the community with the process of proper sorting at the source and with the use of the brown bin in their neighborhoods, all the while developing the tools for the Municipality in order to be able to continue the project in other recycling streams as well.
The project aims to change the prevalent perception around organic waste from ‘rubbish’ to ‘potential treasure’ and to facilitate the transition to a circular economy through the return of organic waste into the production cycle.
With the support of the Helidoni foundation.
Get in touch! Together we create the tools!
What type of food waste goes in a brown bin?
Where can I get the fridge magnet – guide?
What’s your next meeting in my neighborhood?
Where is a brown bin near me and when/how does the waste collection take place? See an indicative map here.
For more questions and answers, please fill out the form below and we will contact you!