Management of plastic waste is vital for the preservation of the Cyclades landscape and wildlife. Nevertheless, waste management is centrally organized at the moment. There is little control and visibility over the actual recycling process. This also affects the behavior of the residents towards recycling. Recycling is often treated as a black box, where anything can go in and be reused. This lack of education regarding plastic recycling is of concern as well.
To this end, our partner KOINSEP of ‘Apano Meria’ on Syros suggested a shift towards circular economy. Participative, open solutions that would allow the recycling of plastic locally, in decentralized systems, also bypassing the high transportation costs. This would better accommodate small island communities and make them less dependent to external factors, while simultaneously allowing islanders to be more aware of their consumer actions, the actual effort behind recycling and the possible products to be produced. It would also create new income opportunities for the community.
The CPF is happy to support this idea and encourage the team to create a small scale recycling center for plastic in Syros, the first of its kind in the Cyclades, with the help of Plastic Precious Greece. This will comprise a shredder, an extruder, an injection machine and a compression machine. Small means mobile – so all of them will fit inside a truck to be transferred to different islands for demonstration in festivals, sport activities and educational events in order to raise awareness!
So, after the creation of the center, the second action of this project is an actual workshop taking place in parallel with the assembly of the equipment. This will allow knowledge to be transferred quickly and efficiently and it will hopefully be the catalyst for more recycling projects to take place on the island(s).
The third action is research. Research will be done on the potential use of recycled plastic and products that could be generated. Aegean University will have access to use the center as a lab and more research will be done on the design and life-cycle of plastic products.
The last, but not least action is optimizing plastic waste management for local partners. Syros and other Cycladic islands have a dozen festivals, events and sports activities throughout the year. Our intention is to partner with as many of them as we can, in order to improve their environmental impact through joint activities.
The small scale recycling centre was successfully built with the help of Precious Plastic Greece during a 3-day workshop. The machines are hosted in Vardakeios school, where the center is open to the public and seminars and workshops have been performed, with moreto be organised in the future. There is a close cooperation between our partner with the DPSD department of the University of the Aegean and two theses have already been completed and more research around plastic, its properties and creative ways to handle it will be performed in the future. Also the mobility of the center will enable us to demonstrate its capabilities to as many people as possible, in the Cyclades area.
We are happy to see the team grow and we are are looking forward to hearing more about their work towards the creation of a collection and sorting center and the manufacture of products from recycled plastic.