Pay as you throw coming soon

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In two years, municipal authorities must implement a “pay as you throw” tax scheme on waste, promoted by the government to meet its EU environmental targets by encouraging more recycling.

MPs on Thursday passed a law obligating municipalities to implement the tax scheme, adopting an EU directive.

According to the regulations, local authorities must prepare an action plan before the end of 2023.

They will then be given a six-month grace period to implement their local pay-as-you-throw scheme.

All municipalities should activate a tax on waste scheme by 1 July 2024.

The programme has already been introduced in the Nicosia suburb of Aglandjia, where residents can now dispose of their waste only in prepaid bags sold by the local authority.

Disposing of recyclable waste is free, and garbage collection fees have been abolished.

The pilot scheme results in Aglandjia showed that households were encouraged to recycle more, while the cost of disposing of non-recyclable waste was reduced by 41%.

An Aglandjia household, previously paying €170 in rubbish collection fees, today pays less than €100 with the prepaid bag system.

However, organic waste is still discarded together with the rest of the rubbish since no solutions have been provided for its proper management, and no progress has been made in creating the necessary infrastructure.

According to a municipal source, in the two months of implementation of the programme, residents had a 99.3% participation rate and a reduction of garbage at the Koshi rubbish tip by 39% (561 tonnes).

“Now, the average Aglandjia resident produces 251 kg of waste per year compared to 570 kg produced annually by the average Cypriot. As a result, recycling also increased by 27%,” the source said.

The introduction of the EU regulations was considered necessary as they are a prerequisite for the disbursement of money from the European Structural and Investment Funds.

Such schemes are part of a broader road map of environmental actions to draw in more than €75 mln in EU funds.