Influx of refugees demand new solutions for coping with the special waste management situation of Greek islands
Ten representatives from the Greek municipalities of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Syros and Hersonissos attended a demonstration day at the DEDISA municipal solid waste (MSW) sorting plant in Chania, Crete, Greece, on 12th October, 2016. The main focus of their fact-finding visit was to gain practical, on-site experience about how important value can be extracted from MSW through setting up an efficient sorting plant.
The DEDISA waste-processing center serves a population of 155,000 inhabitants, which represents around 25 per cent of the island’s total population. Furthermore, the Chania prefecture also provides another 88,000 beds for tourists, and most of the region’s municipalities fall within the DEDISA plant’s catchment area.
The seasonal fluctuation of its population as well as broad similarities in the composition of its household waste make the Chania plant an excellent scalable model for the needs of other Greek islands and territories beyond. In Lesvos, for example, apart from the regular municipal solid waste created by its own 86,000 inhabitants, there is an additional volume of daily waste produced by the recent influx of refugees from regions surrounding the Mediterranean. This is a phenomenon which also currently affects the municipalities of Samos and Chios. Thus the opportunity to recycle polymers from discarded life-saving vests and other valuable raw materials could bring considerable social and financial benefits to these communities.
This demonstration day at the DESIDA plant will be followed by a subsequent morphological study involving 50 tons of MSW shipped from Lesvos to Chania some time in November. The planned study will help to demonstrate and quantify the potential benefits which could result from the implementation of a similar sorting plant on Lesvos.
The Chania plant in more detail
Since the installation of an upgrade package in 2015 – which included advanced sorting systems supplied by TOMRA, new bag-openers, ballistic separators, conveyor belts and a baler press – this plant has achieved increased capacities. Helector’s enhanced plant design has facilitated the efficient separation of solid mixed waste, and now makes it possible to recover paper, PE film, HDPE, PP, and PET bottles in the following quantities:
The nominal capacity of the DEDISA plant has now been increased by 30 per cent, and the new optical separation processes introduced in 2015 have secured the dual goals of high-efficiency processing and an outstanding output purity. Moreover, these significant operational advantages have been gained without placing any further complex demands on the existing Chania waste collection system – green bins for MSW, and blue bins for packaging waste.