Taste the Waste

The Zero Waste prospect of Thessaloniki

3D printed urban furniture placed at Thessaloniki’s seafront | Photo: Marion Sendker
Coca-Cola and the Municipality of Thessaloniki placed recycling bins along the city’s coastline and informed bathers about it | Photo: Marion Sendker

Zero Waste and great expectations

If anything, the Zero Waste programme for Thessaloniki put forward by Coca — Cola is ambitious. However, in a report published in September 2018, the European Commission ranked Greece among 14 European countries that are impossible to have achieved the 50% recycling target — let alone 100% — of its urban waste by 2020.

Coca-Cola is eager to introduce the Zero Waste programme to newcomers even at Thessaloniki’s airport arrival vestibule| Photo: Marion Sendker

The particular case of Thessaloniki

In the recent years, the co-capital has particular properties as regards waste management. “In Greece, in general, we are still far behind when it comes to waste disposal, while Thessaloniki was at zero recycling levels a few years ago. However, we managed to become the first Greek city in recycling rates last year”, says the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris, without hiding his pride. He adds: “We recycle about 20% of 250,000 tonnes of waste per year”, stating, however, that even this rate is not enough. Thessaloniki produces 9% of the municipal waste generally generated in Greece. However, significant efforts have been made to improve the infrastructure in the last years.

The former Olympic Gold Medalist turned Vice-Governor, Voula Patoulidou | Photo: ERT archives

Red bottles, “green” consciousness

The Zero Waste Cities programme is essentially a road charter for actions and interventions in waste management in Thessaloniki through a comprehensive prevention plan. The recycling initiative (paper, glass, aluminum and plastic) throughout the coastline is also a major intervention.

General Manager Coca-Cola GR/CY/MLT showing the “Print Your City” initiative to the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, US Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt and US Secretary of Trade Wilbur Ross | Photo: Coca-Cola Press Kit

Garbage as… urban equipment

The grid of actions implemented by Coca-Cola Group is complemented by the Print Your City programme, which remodels the co-capital’s urban miniature and gives the citizens of Thessaloniki the opportunity to participate in the environmental change that takes place in their city. This is a particularly interesting environmental action, in which urban furniture (e.g. seats — benches) is manufactured using a 3D printer. The raw material used for the construction of urban equipment is recycled plastic.

The citizens of Thessaloniki seem to enjoy the Print Your City initiative | Video Production: Manolis Mavris, Panos Papagiannopoulos, Marion Sendker & Panayiotis Zaimis

Thessaloniki that is persuaded and Thessaloniki that is protesting

At the moment, Coca — Cola’s corporate responsibility programme seems to have made a good impression to the residents of Thessaloniki. In particular, the urban seats that have been placed at Nea Paralia (New Beach) bring great excitement to the city, and many residents of Thessaloniki feel as if they are sitting “in their house’s living room, but having a … panoramic view”.

The excentric mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris | Photo: Marion Sendker
The vice-chairman of POEEP, Giannis Fragidis | Photo: Marion Sendker

Local efforts for green growth

Coca-Cola is not the only one to implement actions with a zero-waste vision for Thessaloniki. Since 2014, the Regional Association of Solid Waste Management Bodies (FoDSA) of Central Macedonia has been a local government tool for the optimal waste management in the 38 Central Macedonia Municipalities, including Thessaloniki.

The Regional Association of Solid Waste Management Bodies (FoDSA) of Central Macedonia | Photo: Ministry of Interior of the Hellenic Republic

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