Q: Could you brief us on the policy initiatives you have undertook during this period? Do you plan to launch a recycling awareness campaign or a reducing waste one? After all, one of the biggest polluters of the Greek seas are the citizens who go to the beaches and then leave their waste behind.

A: Hellenic Recycling Agency (EOAN), supervised by MEEN, is the competent authority for the design and implementation of preventive plans and alternative waste management programmes in Greek territory.

Policy initiatives have already been undertaken in close collaboration with MEEN regarding the adoption and the implementation in the Greek law of the directive 904/2019/EC, as well as the directives 851/2018/EC & 852/2018/EC. Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Products are the main constituents in maritime littering in Greece (90%), as in Europe (80%). Therefore, the implementation of requirements for the reduction of waste from SUP in Greek law is of primal concern for HRA/EOAN.

Legislation activities and measures to be taken in which HRA/EOAN is involved encompass among others:

  • Establishing deposit-refund schemes
  • Setting up requirements for effective separate collection systems (e.g. for plastic bottles)
  • Establishing requirements for the marking of ALL Single Use Plastics Products
  • Setting up the framework for the operation of new alternative waste management schemes – PROs – in the streams of tobacco products (cigarette filters) and fishing gear (plastic) products
  • Extending the Producer’s Responsibility in other packaging or alike packaging products (e.g. batonnets, straws)

All measures and initiatives are in accordance with the new National Planning for Waste Management.

Both type of awareness campaigns are and will be held as one of EOAN’s strategic objectives is the consolidation of environmental awareness through the circular economy principles.

Awareness campaigns for reducing the waste of SUP have already started: in collaboration with MEEN, EOAN is promoting the “Greece without Single-use Plastics”- SUPFREE campaign.

In addition to that, last summer EOAN participated in various actions in Clean-Up Beaches in Attica and islands and promoted similar initiatives, as the Butt-free campaign of WeSwim voluntary group.

Moreover, EOAN is the national contact point for the European Week for Waste Reduction, which is the biggest European gathering of awareness raising actions about waste reduction. This year, the activities will be held in 21-29 November 2020, and with “invisible waste” theme.

All campaigns are and will be financed by the income of environmental tax which is collected by EOAN and has a rewarding character towards the citizens.

At the end, Hellenic Recycling Agency has a key role in the prevention of waste and the alternative management of waste and it will continue to work and collaborate with MEEN and economic actors, such as municipalities, PROs in order to contribute to the amazing efforts needed for prevention and reduction of marine littering.

in line with the polluter-pays principle, also introduce extended producer responsibility schemes to cover the necessary costs of waste management and clean-up of litter as well as the costs of awareness raising measures to prevent and reduce such litter. Those costs should not exceed the costs that are necessary to provide those services in a cost-efficient way and should be established in a transparent way between the actors concerned.

the extended producer responsibility schemes

Beverage bottles that are single-use plastic products are one of the marine litter items that are found the most on beaches in the Union.

In the framework of an extended producer responsibility for fishing gear


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Written by Thodoris Psyrris