HERRCO as an important partner of circular economy in Greece
The company participated in the Delphi Economic Forum VII in a discussion on the sustainability goals of recyclable packaging and the challenges the Circular Economy poses.
HERRCO's chairman, Mr. Michael Economakis, presented his opinion on the operation of the blue-bin system and its achievements in packaging recycling, the modernization of the process to optimize recycling results, the differences between recycling and packaging recycling, as well as the major issue of contribution evasion in the panel entitled “Sustainable Packaging and Circular Economy Challenges” of Delphi Economic Forum VII. Mr. Michael Economakis, Chairman of the Hellenic Recovery Recycling Corporation (HERRCO) & Executive Chairman of Petros Petropoulos Group, focused on the biggest issue that is currently being faced by packaging recycling; that of contribution evasion by businesses operating in the industry, but are not contracted with any system. As indicated by the official state details, contribution evasion amounts to 22 million per year, i.e., 45%. As a result, the burden of covering the contribution evasion amounts is borne by the compliant companies; an issue that the State and Public Administration are mainly responsible to tackle. An issue which, according to Mr. Economakis, HERRCO has presented to the State in the most official manner and ultimately hopes that it will be effectively addressed. At the same time, he pointed out that although contribution evasion in European countries stands at 4%, in Greece it borders on 45%, and these funds are ultimately deprived from recycling projects, and that is where State intervention is necessary. Among other things, Mr. Economakis clarified the difference between recycling and packaging recycling and the different goals set annually for recycling overall and for packaging recycling alone. He referred to the recycling success rates resulting from the blue-bin system and the national goal coverage rates, with HERRCO doubling its packaging recycling obligation. In addition, he referred to HERRCO's packaging recycling plans for the next day, through the development of innovative equipment and the modernization of the vehicles, the network and the recovery facilities. Important figures in the recycling and circular economy sectors presented their opinion on the issue. In particular, Mr. Dimitris Papastergiou, Mayor of Trikala & President of the Central Union of Greek Municipalities, emphasized the necessity for Municipalities to find a solution to tackle contribution evasion, while noting that although mistakes have been made at local government level, the societies that immediately adopted recycling are currently enjoying better results. Mr. Manolis Grafakos, General Secretary of the Ministry of Energy announced that the State is one step away from reaching an agreement with the EU for the financing of waste treatment plants, both for the creation of new ones and the modernization of the existing ones, and he heralded the establishment of an independent waste management control authority. Finally, Mr. Joachim Quoden, Managing Director of EXPRA, said that in order for recycling to succeed, everyone, the state, the agencies, and the systems, must work toward a common goal, while Mr. Athanasios Polychronopoulos, Founder & Managing Director of Polygreen Group of Companies noted that for results to be seen, recycling systems need to adopt a holistic approach based on the change of consumer culture and habits. With the cooperation of the agencies, the state, and the systems, such as HERRCO, we can take the lead and set an example.