Corfu recently had another problem with waste, unfortunately this seems to be a common theme every summer. The island has a major problem with waste. It hasn’t got the infrastructure in place to handle the huge garbage problem in an effective, environmentally friendly way. However Corfu is slowly on a trajectory to improve its “recycling” and waste programs, but it will be a while yet before the problem is completely solved. Anything we can do as the island’s inhabitants will greatly help this issue.
Corfu is not the only Greek island that faces these problems. Many other islands and mainland areas face the same problem. Part of the problem stems from the difficulty of transporting waste from island to island and island to mainland. It would require a huge “national waste transport infrastructure” which sadly the strained economy of Greece can’t quite handle right now. The 2008 economic crisis still reigns heavily upon the nation. Another part of the problem stems from the lack of funding to set-up local recycling and waste plants.
Greece has 39 active illegal landfills, 21 of which are on the Greek island’s. The island of Kalymnos has a “garbage volcano” where trash is being burned almost daily.
As a result of Greece’s inability to solve its waste problems, the EU has fined Greece millions of euros twice over the years once in 2005, and again more recently in 2014. Greece was fined €10 million for failing to solve its waste management problems, in addition to paying a lump sum of €10 million, it was also fined with a daily penalty of €30,000 until it solves the issue.
So what can we as individuals do to help the situation? Greece has a lot on it’s plate at this period, it faces problems at nearly all levels. The crisis that started in 2008 really crippled the country. Instead of complaining to an already cash-strapped and crippled government of its inability to solve this problem, we can at least help Greece with our own small individual efforts – the small efforts of the many, can add up to significant improvements.
Here are a few things that every citizen, every inhabitant, every person – young and old can do:
Compost, is decomposed organic matter such as leaves, vegetables and kitchen waste. It’s a very natural way to recycle organic material into a rich soil which can then be used as fertilizer.
Composting provides a way not only of reducing the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of, but also of converting it into a product that is useful for gardening, landscaping, or house plants.
Throw the trash in the right bins
It’s important that the garbage gets put in the right bins to help with the processing of waste. The blue bins are for plastics, paper, tins etc. The other blue bins that are shaped like a dome are only for glass.
By separating the trash and placing it in the right bins, you can help the process of recycling go a lot smoother.
Plastic bottle lids
Before you throw away plastic bottles in the blue bins for recycling, make sure to remove the lids.
The lids are made of a different type of plastic than the bottle and when melted for recycling the plastic of the lid may contaminate the whole batch, making the plastics nearly impossible to reuse.
They can also jam machinery if they aren’t removed, making the process of compression difficult.
The chances of the bottle being recycled improve if you remove the lids prior to throwing it in the recycling bins.
Another important aspect is that plastic bottles without a lid can be easily crushed to a fraction of their initial volume. In this way it takes a much longer time before the bins start overflowing.
Donate or reuse old clothing
Clothing is the most unnecessary wasted products on the planet. Old clothing can be reused in a number of ways. You can donate clothes to people that need them, or simply give clothes you don’t need anymore to friends and family. You can also turn old clothing into rags for cleaning.
Consuming less reduces waste!
The best way we can help the situation is to consume less!
Buying unnecessary things we don’t really need only hurts our wallet and the environment. Trying to discern our wants and needs can go a long way in consuming less. Simply being slightly more self-aware on what we are about to buy is the best way we can help Corfu!
Let’s all try and do our small part in helping Greece and Corfu with it’s waste problems, and let’s all try and be a little understanding towards the enormous problems Greece faces. It is very hard for a country with limited money to solve everything at once. Greece faces much bigger and more immediate problems than fixing its waste problems. So if you really want to help the country in a meaningful way, do your small part.
As Gandhi once said: “In a gentle way you can change the world”
So let’s try and do just that. Be gentle!
This was written by Joseph Harry Rapsomanikis, he is a digital marketer and helps businesses stand out online. You can connect with him on Facebook, for business, fun, or both!