Optimizing Municipal Waste Management in Greece

The Greek Government asked the European Commission (EC) for support in specific areas (including the improvement of municipal waste management, regulatory issues of the waste sector, the management of specific waste categories) in order to raise the quality and quantity of recycling, to improve data quality and to effectively use economic instruments. To achieve the afore-mentioned goals, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) provided “Technical support for the implementation of the National Waste Management Plan (NWMP) of Greece” from 2018 to 2020. The project was funded by the European Union (EU) via the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) and the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), and implemented by GIZ and the Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy (YPEN), in collaboration with the European Commission. GIZ commissioned BlackForest Solutions GmbH (BFS) to provide specific technical expertise to GIZ and YPEN from July 2019 to July 2020 by supporting four areas of intervention linked to the optimization of municipal waste management in Greece, namely: (1) Separate collection of municipal waste, (2) Improvement of cost accounting in municipal waste management, (3) Use of economic instruments for waste management and (4) Separate collection of bio-waste.

Project details

Separate Collection of Municipal Waste

A systematic separate collection of different waste streams within the municipal waste in Greece has not been implemented yet. This area of intervention focused on the preparation of a comprehensive guide and road map providing suitable options for separate municipal waste collection for the Greek context. Results were presented in a workshop organized by GIZ and BFS in November 2019. The recommendation by the experts would significantly affect the possibilities for the subsequent treatment and recovery of the different waste streams and contributes to the comparatively low recycling rates and high GHG emissions of the Greek waste sector.


Improvement of Cost Accounting in MSWM

Currently, in Greece cost accounting methods in waste management applied by municipalities, are neither well-structured nor complete, keeping thus the potential for cost optimization and improvement of services highly restrained. As a result, the associated fees charged to the citizens do not strictly represent/reflect the actual MSW management costs. This area of intervention focused on the provision of guidance to municipalities in Greece regarding full-cost accounting. To be more precise, it aims to enhance the applied methodologies of coat accounting in municipal waste management, through the development of a model guideline.

Use of Economic Instruments for WM

Economic instruments can provide incentives for the prevention or the improved recovery of waste. Until now, such instruments for efficient management of waste are used in Greece only to a limited extent. In this area of intervention, six economic instruments were primarily assessed, namely waste charges, landfill and incineration taxes, producer responsibility schemes, pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) systems, and taxation on single-use plastic products and beverages.

Separate Collection and Treatment of Bio-waste

A systematic separate collection of bio-waste within the municipal waste in Greece has not been implemented yet. The largest part of this waste is currently not recovered but disposed of in landfills, resulting in significant methane emissions from these landfills. This area of intervention focused on the effective planning and implementation of municipal bio-waste management at a pilot scale, using the example of 6 selected West Attica municipalities.