Greece: ELDIA - A Greener Way to Manage Waste
The focus of this project was to sort and recycle waste in a greener, more efficient way – and learn good practices from Norway’s experience. The project consisted in constructing and operating a state-of-the-art waste sorting facility to process large volumes of mixed recyclables, as well as receive more diversified materials. The new state-of-the-art waste management facility is in full operation from 2022.
The Greek company ELDIA is taking action to innovate how waste is separated and eventually how it is reused. That means emptier landfills and more sustainable waste management. Together with the Norwegian partner Norsk Gjenvinning, they went beyond waste management to treat waste as an asset.
Mr Dimitris Gortzis, the CEO of ELDIA (Hellenic Waste Management), began working in waste-separation as legislation around the world was being instituted and recycling started to spread. He explains that “I worked in the Waste Management field in the USA between 1988 and 1997, when I returned to my country and founded ELDIA. When I came back to Greece, I realized that 99% of the waste produced was disposed of at the landfills.”
Recycled, upcycled or reused
What he saw is that landfills accumulated mountains of waste that could be recycled, upcycled or reused or, at the very least, reduced. ELDIA started promoting recycling in commercial and industrial companies and the municipalities followed with recycling programmes for mixed recyclables where content ends up at sorting plants.
As a result of the project, Mr Gortzis notes that “there has been an increase in the firms processing plastic recyclables, and that is really good news for the country”.
Exchange of Good Practice with Norway
The Greek company ELDIA underlined the significant contribution of their Norwegian partners in Norsk Gjenvinning (NGN). The partner is Norway's leading environmental services provider with wide range of sustainable waste management and recycling solutions.
In this project, NGN provided advice during the construction of the facility, on the optimum operation of the new facility and on safety issues. They also shared know-how and experience on efficient waste management more generally and specifically regarding the waste sorting performance and recycling. Both partners report that they are very happy with the results of the partnership and the cooperation is expected to continue after project implementation.
"Our monthly production before the new plant was 500 tons of various materials in 2 shifts. With the new plant, we process over 1500 tons of materials in one shift", Dimitris Gkortzis, CEO of ELDIA S.A., explains. He highlights the importance of the financial support received through the "Business Innovation Greece"-programme, and the value of their project partnership with Norsk Gjenvinning AS.
State-of-the-Art Sorting Plant
With the EEA Grants funding, ELDIA invested in a state-of-the-art sorting plant. They installed a bag opener, tromell, magnets, aluminium separators and optical separators. The new equipment increased the total volume processed and the recovery rate. The overall quality of products recovered is improved, and the waste going to the landfill is decreased.
The Business Innovation Programme in Greece
The project is supported by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein through the EEA Grants. See more opportunities under the Business Innovation Programme in Greece.