In series of publications we will introduce to the different project partners that are involved in the implementation of the PLASTECO project. We start with the lead partner – Municipality of Rethymno (Greece).

Rethymno is a city of approximately 40,000 people in Greece, the capital of Rethymno regional unit on the island of Crete, a former Latin Catholic bishopric as Retimo(–Ario) and former Latin titular see. Rethymno was originally built during the Minoan civilization (ancient Rhithymna and Arsinoe). The city was prominent enough to mint its own coins and maintain urban growth. One of these coins is today depicted as the crest of the town: two dolphins in a circle.

In the context of the PLASTECO project Municipality of Rethymno will address changes in the Local Waste Management Plan of the municipality.

RETHYMNO’s Local Waste Management plan provides a consistent framework for waste related activities in the municipality over the period 2014-2020. The plan was developed in accordance with the National Waste Management Plan (49 ΠΥΣ 15‐12‐2015–ΦΕΚ 174/Α/15‐12‐15), and addresses the territorial challenges related to waste management and environmental pollution. It provides a number of targets and milestones for waste reduction & recycling, incl. actions required to meet those targets.

The plan seeks to ensure that Rethymno has adequate disposal and waste collection capacity, and to decrease Rethymno’s reliance on landfills for disposing of solid waste. The overriding objective is to stimulate a shift from landfilling towards sustainable management options and resource efficiency, by ensuring that local communities and businesses have opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

The municipality has already taken action to advance plastic recycling practices and improve recycling efficiency. Relevant measures include a) the construction of recycling collection centres in central spots, b) the procurement of additional recycling bins, c) increasing the frequency of waste collection, especially during summer, and d) communication campaigns to showcase the importance to recycle and reuse.

However, there are still things that can be improved and this will result in highly motivated work during the PLASTECO project.

The Municipality is the body mandated to perform waste management in the Regional Unit of Rethymno, including the collection of municipal waste, the creation of green points, and the construction of sorting/ treatment facilities.

Rethymno Municipality is the Managing Authority of the policy instrument addressed, and thus can directly influence its implementation and make revisions based on experiences gathered throughout the project lifecycle. Structural changes are also possible following approval from the municipal council.

In the other articles you can expect the other project partners to be introduced.

The widespread plastic pollution necessitates a strong reaction from EU regions, to address growing environmental and health concerns. PLASTECO, in line with the “European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy”, will support participating territories to take the steps necessary for a transition towards a “new plastics economy”. The focus of the project will be on advances in waste management, eradication of single-use plastics from regional value chains, and spurring growth through eco-innovation. PLASTECO will cover the areas of waste management, public procurement, funding/investments, secondary raw materials, and awareness raising.

PLASTECO will support 8 partners from 8 EU countries, through joint policy learning efforts and exchanges of experiences, to benefit from the momentum of the EU plastics strategy and achieve their goals in terms of protecting the environment, increasing resource efficiency, alleviating health effects, and boosting innovation. PLASTECO will enable partners and key stakeholders to:

assess the current situation, potential, and barriers in their regions;

identify pathways for sustainable growth in plastics value-chains;

design and put into effect new policy measures and regulations.