Regarding the goal set by the government within the next two years to eliminate the disgraceful fines for illegal landfills, the secretary general for Energy, Manolis Grafakos spoke, among other things, in the context of the 7th Delphi Forum that is taking place April 6-9. He characteristically stated: “We want to leave behind the management of yesterday. The national waste management plan has been drafted and is in force. We were champions in illegal landfills. We have reduced the fines by 40%. The government wants to enable citizens who want to separate waste. And it motivates them. I want to be fair. The drop in fines began with the previous government eight years ago. We want to believe that we will close the illegal landfills.”
George Kremlis, director of the European Commission for issues of circular economy and insularity, said that the government is already attempting an institutional transition to the circular economy and we should talk about circular tourism and circular entrepreneurship. There are, however, still several steps to be taken. “Our country needs units for the utilization of recyclable materials, which are either exported or burned. Think about financial bleeding and the environmental footprint. Businesses need to adapt to the cyclical economy model. There are resources in the waste and we can not throw them awy,” he said.
Politicians passed the baton to business representatives, who talked about the ways in which the success of the circular economy and recycling targets is possible.
Lavrentis Albertis, General Manager, Polygreen Group of Companies, stressed the mobilizing logic of the company he represents with the motto “zero waste is not a concept, it can become a reality”. He gave the example of the Tilos experiment – Polygreen initiative – which is implemented with the active participation of households, businesses and organizations of the small island and provides for the development of a technologically advanced system of cyclical management of all waste. Referring to the innovations of the Polygreen Group of Companies, he presented the electronic platform where waste is collected and weighed. “We already manage them and certify companies for their action. We want to extend this to the citizens,” he said, stressing that “there is no waste, there is raw material.”
Athanasios Kefalas, President Greek Mining Enterprises Association & Chairman, IMERYS Greece & Bauxites, spoke about the circular economy in the mining industry. “We use less land and we have less waste. We enjoy useful minerals and metals that our ancestors abandoned. As in Lavrio. Copper is a material whose production in the last 100 years is active by 60%. Every year we recycle 32%. This means that we have not reached the level of maturity so that we do not need new minerals,” he noted.
Lena Belsi, CEO, Geocycle Hellas, Member Heracles Group, referred to the logic of substitution and the need to change the production model. He used the example of concrete: “Concrete is a sustainable material. We have good practices from our factories abroad, where they recycle it and recast it. This does not happen in Greece because the corresponding concrete regulation has not been adapted. We need to move forward with environmental licensing faster.”
Vassilis Kaminaris, Partner, Head of Audit, of KPMG presented the results of a recent report, emphasizing that the global turnover is only 8.6% and explaining that this is very low and we must understand that individual lights are not enough examples. “We need to increase the geometry of the circularity. How is this going to be done? What changes should I make to my model? How do I apply it? Companies need to understand what the circular economy is, integrate it into the organization’s DNA, understand the upcoming change in legislation and how to incorporate these changes into its model. At the same time, the provision of incentives and pressure on companies should be intensified. This pressure comes from the citizens. This means that consumer information should be intensified,” he concluded.