Local Authorities – or other competent municipal bodies – and HERRCO sign collaboration agreements aiming at the most effective organization and management of packaging waste recycling, in accordance with Law 2939/01. The framework for cooperation between the Local Authorities and HERRCO includes two alternative patterns:
The System introduces to the collaborating Local Authorities the basic plan for the Blue Bin project.
The project’s planning is based on the population of the Local Authority about to join the system, according to the 2011 census (as of the National Statistical Service of Greece). The equipment delivered to the Local Authorities includes:
- Reusable recycling sacks equal to the number of households of the Local Authority about to join the System.
- Number of Blue Bins as to fully cover the needs of the municipality (1 Blue Bin per 75 inhabitants).
- One (1) collection vehicle of 15-16 tons for a network of at least 250 Bins (responding to about 20 thousand inhabitants) and one (1) additional vehicle responsible for two trips per day to the Recycling Sorting Center (or to the area of reloading) or for itineraries of 16 hours daily.
In some cases, the planning is not based on the census data, as the population might change seasonally (usually in summer resorts) or might have changed significantly since the last census.
In these cases, the original planning is either based on the data of Solid Waste or on an evaluation of the population during the busiest period (i.e. summer), as the Blue Bin network and the collection equipment must cover the recycling needs during all seasons.
When the population of a Local Authority is not large enough to justify the provision of a collection vehicle, then this Local Authority can select either to collaborate with a neighboring Local Authority and share a collection vehicle, or use its own collection vehicle for the collection and transport of recycling waste from the Blue Bin network and its transfer to the Recycling Sorting Center.
Following the agreement on the planning, the process for the vehicle donation follows. Once completed, a time plan is prepared in collaboration with the Local Authority which includes the starting and completion dates for the training, the placement of the Bins and the initiation of the collection itineraries.
The citizens collect their packaging material separately from the rest of their domestic waste, store it in the blue recycling bags which have been distributed door to door and then dispose of it in the Blue Bins. The collaborating local authorities are responsible for the collection from the Blue Bins. The proposed collection frequency for every Bin is 2 to 3 times per week. In the case of Bins placed at commercial areas, the need for collection might be on a daily basis. Then, the collection vehicles go to the Recycling Sorting Centers where the recyclable material is weighed; they unload the recyclable material which is then taken for sorting in distinct derived packaging material (i.e. paper/cardboard, PET, HDPE, mixed plastic, film, PE, glass, steel and aluminum) and, if possible, other non-packaging recyclable material, such as brochures, and even material which has been discarded by mistake in the Blue Bin (i.e. small electrical devices etc). Afterwards, the sorted packaging material is baled (apart from glass and usually tinplate) and is sold to licensed recycling companies. Through the sorting procedure accrues a residue consisting of waste which is either not the required recyclable material and thus has been mistakenly placed in the Blue Bins by the citizens, or, is of small volume and therefore its sorting on the belt is either technically impossible or exceptionally costly. The collaborating Local Authorities are responsible for the handling of the residue corresponding to them.
As significant quantities of glass bottles are accruing from specific business venues, HE.R.R.Co has established since 2013 a separate stream for glass recycling. The basic means for separate glass collection is the Blue Bell. The Blue Bells serve the needs of major producers and business venues such as entertainment halls, bars, cafeterias, restaurants, hotel complexes etc, where large quantities of products in glass packaging are being consumed, which would otherwise end up as common waste. HE.R.R.Co provides the businesses with the required collection equipment (multiple use bags or wheeled bins), while it realizes regular and recurring visits to raise awareness and inform them about their participation in the program. Collection and transport of the material are realized by HE.R.R.Co in accordance with the procedures approved by the competent authorities. The material is eventually taken for processing and recycling to producers both within and outside Greece.
Today, more than 7.200 Blue Bells are placed in private and public places – in collaboration with 213 municipalities – serving the needs of about 16.000 businesses in the field of dining and entertainment.