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Lessons on the … recycling bus

A tour unlike the others will carry the bus that carries the message of recycling and proper waste management. Launched in Nea Smyrna, the 1st Europe-wide Mobile Environmental Education and Recycling Center, it aims to “instill” young and old students into environmental awareness, sustainable development and the circular economy.

An original idea

“It is an original idea and the first signs of the launch of the program in the Municipality of Nea Smyrni are very encouraging,” Angeliki Chatzinikolaou, head of the Environmental Education and Recycling Center’s educational program, told RES-EIA.

The Mobile Center is, then, a double-decker bus: each passenger enters a recycling machine with plastic and metal packaging, while the second floor seats the passengers facing the screen, through which the … “lesson” interactive.

This is an example of green and eco-friendly action: The electricity required to operate the automatic recycling machine for metal and plastic packaging is provided by a special solar-panel photovoltaic system.

“The program is adapted to the age group that is being watched by a specially trained educator, is having a dialogue with the children to find out what the recyclable materials are and to learn how to recycle them in their day-to-day lives after they have realized its importance.” Mrs Chatzinikolaou said in RES-EIA.

“After going through the second floor attending this interactive training, they go downstairs, implementing what they heard above. They recycle packages on the machine inside the bus and see how the recycling is done on the spot. They put the packaging on the machine and because the bin is transparent, they see the bottle they put in, how it falls compressed, “he added.

“We all talk about recycling, but we don’t all know what it means in practice. And because recycling is a family affair, we ask students, because they are the ideal ambassadors for recycling in the family, to see the need to reduce waste and to raise awareness of the importance of recycling, “he commented.

Indeed, from the first days of program implementation, student visitors seem to have fun. “There is some excitement and surprise, because the bus is original and very popular with children. After all, it is easier to stay away from things. For us, the key is not to see it as a lesson. If they perceive it as something compulsory, quite a few repulsive ideas may be created. But the early signs are very encouraging, “he concluded.

It is also very important that children can return to the bus with their parents and packages for recycling at any time.

The beginning of the municipality of Nea Smyrni

The bus will be in the municipality of Nea Smyrna by the end of the month.

He will then tour other areas of Attica until the end of summer and then make a nationwide trip to spread the idea of ​​recycling to other cities in Greece.

“It is very important that this environmental education center is started by N. Smyrna, because if students are able to understand how important source selection is, with the new recycling bill, then we can say that in five years the mentality of citizens in N. Smyrna will have changed. And not only, “George Krikris, deputy mayor of cleanliness of the municipality of N. Smyrni, told APA.

“Within a 45-minute lesson, students understand the benefits of recycling and the proper process to recycle the materials we have in our home everyday. We believe that children and the environment are our future, so in every neighborhood we will make sure to inform them on how to best manage their household waste, ”he added.

Especially for the municipality of Nea Smyrni, the Center is expected to visit 1,500 students from kindergarten to high school and 45 school departments to attend the “lesson”.

Some basic steps for better waste management
Some of the key points that pupils learn and that all citizens need to know for better waste management and recycling are the RES-EIA, following the “lesson”:

Rinse packages before recycling them.
Avoid using a plastic bag when unnecessary. We prefer a reusable bag.
Small rubbish is not recycled.

We recycle the leftover food. By composting, that is, converting organic waste into soil for our pots and our garden.
We prefer economical or small product packaging to reduce waste.
We check the packaging we buy if it is environmentally friendly
We reduce the use of disposable plastic packaging.
We choose returnable bottles and packages.
We use rechargeable batteries and put the old ones used at special recycling points.
We don’t throw out junk. If we cannot give them to a social drugstore because they have expired, many pharmacies have special buckets to dispose of medicines we no longer need.