Corfu’s waste crisis is far from over: there is no legal landfill on the island remaining and a temporary solution of shipping waste off the island, to Kozani on the mainland, is under discussion. Corfu produces 67000 tonnes of waste per year it is doubtful whether the whole amount. Shipping waste to Kozani will incur high costs for the municipalities, which will ultimately be transferred to taxpayers. Amid all the turmoil that bad waste management has caused, growing awareness and responsibility from individual citizens, businesses and local communities on the whole have resulted in some substantial positive outcomes in the last two years. More than everything else, change has come through citizen- and community-led initiatives setting up and managing their own so-called “green corners“.
The “green corners” of Corfu are community-managed sites, where people and businesses voluntarily bring their recyclable waste clean and sorted by material. This is done in order to make sure that the materials will not follow the usual route that would most likely have them wasted, had they used the formal central waste management system of the island. Instead, in this way people are sure materials (not anymore to be considered ‘waste’) will be properly collected and treated.
In the last two years, at the community of Sinies, one of the best green corners of Corfu was runnning on a voluntary basis. Given the situation with waste management on the island and the impacts on the daily life, the economy and reputation, it is crucial to find immediate solutions to reduce waste production and divert as much recyclable material and organic waste as possible from landfill. People of Sinies formed SINPRAXI, a social cooperative enterprise (SSCE), which is fortunate enough to have been given the use of an old olive press, located in the heart of Sinies (North East Corfu), by Sinies Agricultural Association. Up until recent years, the olive press was operated by a local cooperative society but changes in demographics and employment trends meant a decline in olive farming, so the olive press ceased to operate. Members of the SSCE pitched to the board of Sinies. The Agricultural Association about their ideas for the community recycling and their proposal was accepted.
Having as a core members of the team that has successfully managed the local Green Corner for nearly two years and members of the Local Council, the team was ready to make the next big step, serving not only the area of Sinies, but much of NE Corfu and securing a formal collaboration with the municipality.
The purpose of the Sinies Community Project is to offer its services to Sinies as well as to neighbouring communities and the North Corfu Municipality in an ongoing effort to fulfil the needs of the area and enhance it further in terms of its beauty, cleanliness and local amenities. During Phase A the purpose is merely to keep the communities clean, collecting as much recyclable waste as possible and diverting them from landfills. During Phase B (after summer 2020) the team will try to elevate the efforts and address other components of sustainable waste management too.
We are excited to support this project by funding and advising. Should you want to donate specifically about this great project (yes, more funds are needed), please do email us.