Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recycling plastic, metal and drink containers in Cyprus

I was very excited when we received our recycling pack a couple of months ago. I started collecting everything that could be recycled, according to the brochure. On Mondays, when I walk to the Post Office, I take any glass recycling with me, to drop into the green glass recycling domes that have sprung up all around Larnaka.

And yet - to my surprise, there isn't actually much to recycle. Last week, I forgot to take any glass with me. Yesterday, my two weeks' worth of glass consisted of:

Two empty spice jars
Two empty jam jars
One empty wine bottle

The wine bottle had been sitting in our fridge for about a few months. Perhaps since we had friends over for our anniversary. There was maybe a quarter of a bottle left, and I've gradually been using it in cooking. Finally I finished it about ten days ago. The jam jars had been given to us by other people; I never buy jam, but make my own and re-use the same jars.

I did have about half a box of paper to put out last night. Most if it was junk mail that had arrived in our letter-box, but there were a few papers from our printer that couldn't be used any more.

As for the 'PMD' category - plastic, metal and drink containers - I'd collected a month's worth of those. We have to put them in bags, which can be bought from the supermarket; I don't mind buying them (they don't cost any more than regular black sacks) but feel reluctant to put one out when there are only a couple of items in it. So I kept on collecting containers until it was about a third full:

I'm quite pleased to discover that we really don't use many containers that can be recycled; it means we probably weren't wasting as much as I thought we were. Cooking just everything from scratch, and relying on plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables does help - although I rather wish we had some way of making compost, since my black sacks are, basically, full of fruit and vegetable waste now. Plus a bit of plastic that can't be recycled.

Here, for anyone curious to know what was in my PMD bag, is an exclusive photo of the contents:

I even, sad person that I am, made a list:

Three milk containers (two plastic, one tetrapack - I buy whatever's best value)
Two juice tetrapack containers (I don't drink it much, but Richard does sometimes)
One empty olive oil bottle (it's the only oil I use; one litre typically lasts us a couple of months)
One empty shampoo bottle
One empty baked beans tin (yes, we do sometimes eat ready-canned baked beans)
One empty mackerel can (an occasional lunch-time treat)
Two empty tuna cans (we have tuna mayonnaise for lunch sometimes)
One empty passata container (bought before I started making my own)
Two jar lids (from the jam jars that went into the glass recycling)
One bubble mixture bottle (the first one finished from my birthday present)
One washing-up liquid bottle (they usually last us about three or four months)
Three empty ketchup bottles. Yes, three. I do use them in cooking as well as sometimes on meals.

- and that's all. Which I don't think is too bad, really. Well, other than the ketchup which I suppose I could make myself too. I no longer buy canned tomatoes and although I do buy canned sweetcorn, we evidently haven't eaten any in the past month. I was surprised that there were only two tuna cans - I had expected more. Perhaps someone threw them away without thinking.

I also added in an empty large fabric conditioner bottle which someone else, for some reason, had left in our dustbin a few days ago. The regular dustmen won't now take anything that's clearly recyclable.

The recycling truck comes around our neighbourhood around 9.00pm Monday nights. It takes PMD and paper every week, which seems pretty efficient. They don't yet seem to have reached all the streets in Larnaka, and I don't know how much is being collected; we don't see very many bags or boxes put out, but at least it's a start.

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