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In line with the Polluter Pays principle, local authorities in Cyprus have established the "Pay-As-You-Throw" scheme to enhance waste management practices. This initiative follows the Waste (Municipal Waste Management) Regulations 2022, which were adopted to align with the European Waste Directive (2008/98/EC). These regulations mandate local authorities to develop action plans aimed at significantly improving Cyprus' performance in recycling and waste reuse.

The primary objective of these Local Action Plans is to define and implement effective measures and actions at the local level to prevent waste generation and manage municipal waste rationally. A key component of these plans is the "Pay-As-You-Throw" system, designed to apply the Polluter Pays principle fairly and effectively.

Components of the Local Action Plan

The Local Action Plan include:

(a) a local municipal waste management plan,

(b) a local municipal waste prevention program, featuring provisions for waste reuse.

Introduction of the “Pay-As-You-Throw” Scheme

The Pay-As-You-Throw Scheme provides financial incentives for municipal waste holders, requiring local authorities to implement the system within their administrative boundaries, either individually or in collaboration with other local authorities, by July 1, 2024. Under the existing framework, citizens pay a fixed fee irrespective of the amount of waste they produce. The new system will replace this fixed annual fee with a variable payment method, aligning waste generation with pricing in accordance with the European directive that mandates the polluter pays.

Benefits and Early Successes

The "Pay-As-You-Throw" scheme is already in use in several Member States, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. In Cyprus, the system has been successfully piloted in the Nicosia suburb of Aglantzia. Residents now dispose of their waste using prepaid bags sold by the local authority. According to municipal sources, the program achieved a 99.3% participation rate and reduced garbage at the Koshi landfill by 39% (561 tonnes) within the first two months of implementation.

Encouraging Results and Future Prospects

The implementation of the "Pay-As-You-Throw" scheme has proven to be one of the most effective methods for reducing waste and increasing recycling rates. By providing financial incentives, this system encourages individuals to reduce waste and recycle more. Local authorities are urged to act promptly to implement this system by 1 July 2024, in compliance with the regulations and to meet European waste management targets.

The successful adoption of the "Pay-As-You-Throw" scheme demonstrates its potential to significantly improve waste management practices in Cyprus, making it a model for other regions to follow.


By Maria Constanti

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