Recycling: A term that has come into our lives for good the last years, with the blue bins to be found in every town and village in Greece, giving us the stimulus to reduce the waste that goes to sanitary landfills or to uncontrolled landfills, by recycling whatever can be reused. Only that when we were discovering recycling some other states had already set up on it for their prosperity.
The difference of theory from practice is obvious with the example of Sweden, which has come to recycle or reuse, hold on, the …99% of its waste! It is an impressive statistic that from the 461 kilos of waste that the average Swede annually produces, only one percent goes to landfill (source: Econews.gr).
Another equally striking feature is that in order to smoothly continue heating 950.000 households and electrifying another 260.000, Sweden has come to import around 800.000 tons of waste from other european countries, so as to ensure the sustainability of the program.
By the time we started to learn about recycling and how to make it a way of living, another unknown word entered our vocabulary: composting. Composting is a natural process that converts organic materials into a rich dark substance. This substance is called compost or humus or soil enrichment. It has been estimated that 35% of household waste can be composted.
With something more than fallen leaves and food scraps from our kitchen we can make our own compost and give life to our plants and garden, as the addition of compost greatly improves the physical structure, ventilation and retention of soil water, enriching it with important nutrients. It is no coincidence that many gardeners when they refer to compost they call it “black gold”!
In 2013, Eurostat announced some interesting information on the production of household waste in the EU, but also for recycling and composting rates. Greece holds one of the worst places, because of the low rate of recycling and the near to zero composting rate.
However, this cannot and must not be continued. Not only because as an EU country we are committed to recycle at least 50% of household waste by 2020. Much more because non-recycling means waste of money for the national economy, means damage to the environment, means lost benefits for public health. It is obvious that we have to immediately change habits and adapt to the needs of our time, so as to multiply benefit.
Compost and let nothing go to waste …it’s good for you!