The regulatory framework for waste management in Greece comprises of several pieces of legislation that are based on EU Law. The main driver has been Directive 2008/98/EC on waste, which has been transposed into Greek legislation with Law 4042/2012 on Waste Management.

Throughout the last decade, a significant number of Directives and Decisions regulating specific problems on waste management have been adopted at a national level. Recently, Law 4685/2020 on the modernization of the environmental legislation incorporated into Greek legislation, Directives (EU) 2018/844 and 2019/692.

In terms of waste management, Law 4685/2020 provides for the National Waste Management Plan (NWMP), which is approved by the Ministerial Council, following a proposal by the Minister of Environment and Energy. The new NWMP applies for the implementation period 2020-2030 and has been drafted in line with the provisions of art. 22 and 35 of Law 4042/2012, as amended by art. 83 of Law 4685/2020.

The new national plan on waste management is oriented to the following targets:

* The reduction of the amount of waste being buried in landfills to below 10% by 2030.
* The implementation of the separate collection for waste and bio-waste materials. In particular for bio-waste, article 41 of Law 4042/2012, as replaced by par. 2 of article 84 of Law 4685/2020, stipulates that from 31 December 2022, biological waste will be either separated and recycled at source, or collected separately and not mixed with other types of waste. Therefore, the separate collection of biological waste becomes mandatory as of 31 December 2022.
* The development of a network for the collection of organic waste (coffee bin) by the end of 2022.
* The recovery of energy from the treatment of organic waste (biomass) and also the production of secondary materials (compost).
* The construction and operation of Waste Treatment Plants and Bio-Waste Treatment Plants.

In the context of the new national plan, waste management responsibilities for packaging producers and producers of electric and electronic equipment (EEE) are also highlighted, whereas the creation of new systems of extended responsibility for the producers of specific categories of municipal waste such as furniture, mattresses, greenhouse waste and others is also provided.

In addition, Ministerial Decision no. 99398/6484 (Government Gazette 4656 B’/2020) was issued in relation to the “Classification of public and private projects and activities in categories and subcategories, according to article 1 par. 4 of Law 4014/2011”. By virtue of this Decision, Processing Facilities (recovery and disposal) of municipal solid waste (MSW) are elevated from sub-category A2 (projects and activities that are likely to cause significant impact on the environment) to sub-category A1 (projects and activities that are likely to cause very significant impact on the environment).

The Ministerial decision contributes to the establishment of a unified and stricter legislative framework in terms of the environmental licensing for Waste Processing Facilities, whereas at the same time provides for the shortening of the relevant procedures and guarantees a high level of environmental protection.

As far as the development of waste infrastructure is concerned, it should be noted that the Integrated Waste Management System of Western Macedonia (IWMS), – which is the first Waste Management Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Greece -, is expected to be tendered, following the decision of the executive committee of the Regional Association of Solid Waste Management Agencies of Central Macedonia (FODSA) in May 2021. Moreover, additional tenders for new waste and bio-waste processing facilities in Attica are also expected to be held in 2021.

Edited by Dafni Sotirchou