Incentives for the separate collection of plastic and aluminum packaging on the municipality’s beaches
As much as there is a general will for clean coasts, the beaches are always a place where a large number of people gather, especially on weekends, and with them litter also accumulates. That is why clean coasts are every summer a big bet for the municipalities, who mobilize personnel and energy in order to achieve it.
The municipality of Varis-Voulas-Vouliagmeni goes one step further and now mobilizes the “smart” applications, especially for the two organized beaches it has, those of Vouliagmeni and Varkiza. As part of its initiatives to protect the environment and encourage recycling and in collaboration with the Non-Profit Company of innovative applications Whywasteme, it supports the first application in Greece for mobile phones, which in a way personifies the efforts to protect the coastal environment, giving incentives for the separate collection of plastic and aluminum packaging on the shores of the municipality.
Essentially, it is an application that anyone can download to their mobile phone and which has the ability to record the packaging that the user puts in the recycling. At the same time, it calculates how much carbon dioxide is saved in the atmosphere, and this is where the reciprocity comes in, as the application rewards the user with gifts and donations for the protection of the seas.
Thus, those who find themselves in these two beaches will be able to download the application for free, create their own profile, scan the empty packaging and collect points for every empty PET bottle or aluminum can they discard in its special bins Whywasteme. Every five points is equivalent to 1 euro, which users can donate to three other NGOs, which are actively involved in cleaning the seabed and the Greek coasts. From there on, the first three users in terms of recycling performance will also win gifts from Greek sustainable design companies with materials from the marine environment, based on the logic of reuse and circular utilization.
“As a municipality, we are a field of continuous applications,” the mayor of Vari-Voulas-Vouliagmeni Grigoris Konstantellos tells APE-MPE and explains: “This is a very nice initiative, which we wanted to adopt. The shores always collect litter and mainly plastic bottles. Lots of plastic bottles. This initiative therefore aims to prevent all these bottles from being thrown away, in order to protect the environment and at the same time to give an incentive to bathers, so that everyone can do their own recycling on the coast”.
As Mr. Konstandellos says, even a “league” can be created, since users can invite other bathers and form teams, in an original recycling game. “It’s a well-researched app,” he adds at the end.
It is a fact that the specific municipality of Attica has made several innovations around recycling and is one of those that implements various pilot programs in order to achieve the goal. In fact, he has become a pioneer in some of them, as a result of which a recycling culture has already been created among the citizens of all three municipal communities. The specific application, however, is also addressed to the visitors of the municipality, i.e. to all those who will go to Vouliagmeni and Varkiza for swimming from various regions of Attica.
“Yes, the municipality has created this culture, but the coasts also concern our visitors, not only the citizens. Therefore, it concerns a culture of recycling, which seeks to spread, because the issue of waste is not only local, it is more general. What to do if one beach is clean and the next one is not? So the environment is everyone’s business, residents and visitors”, replies the mayor of Varis-Voulas-Vouliagmenis and concludes:
“For us as a municipal authority, it is an obligation, where there are such innovations and applications, to either adopt them or take them further. The end result concerns all of us.”
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