360 Bar/Restaurant, Monastiraki sq., Athens
February 18, 2020
Consultation with the Athens Municipal authorities and the local business community
Aegean Rebreath and 360° combine efforts to make Monastiraki a plastic-free zone!
How can catering businesses achieve a fruitful collaboration with the state in order to reduce the use of single-use plastics?
The idea was first discussed in Monastiraki square, one of the most popular gathering points in Athens for both tourist and locals. On Tuesday 18/12, in an initiative led by the environmental agency Aegean Rebreath alongside café-bar 360°, local businesses and municipal representatives met and expressed, for the first time, their concerns and ideas, creating a list of proposals to be submitted to the public authorities. With the implementation of the European directive for the ban of single-use plastics on the horizon, the outcomes of the initiative are going to provide support in the expected public consultation.
“The tourist and food service industries are large contributors to the use of plastic and other single-use materials, the majority of which ends up in our seas.
Our main supporters in our efforts to reduce the use of plastics are food service businesses, which is why we are especially excited to be collaborating with 360° in order to promote sustainable practices”, says George Sarelakos, founder of Aegean Rebreath.
360° is setting the example and is soon going to be the first plastic-free restaurant in Athens.
“Professionals working in the food service industry face many challenges when it comes to minimising the use of plastics. That is why we took on the initiative to become the meeting point to search for solutions alongside the state. For us this initiative is a call for culture!”, says Giorgos Panagos, manager of 360° café-bar.
The municipality of Athens welcomed the initiative and became involved in a productive discussion on the topic. The discussion included, among others, Mrs Melina Daskalaki, President of Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (ADDMA) and Mr. Nikos Avramidis, Deputy Mayor of cleanliness. “Athens produces 320.000 tons of waste annually and there is much work to be done in order to improve the management of the situation. This is the reason why we have made cleanliness our priority and we are here to support any effort that could provide solutions”, said Mr. Avramidis while Mrs. Daskalaki stressed that “ADDMA‘s goal is to promote Athens. Therefore, we see anything that facilitates that goal as our job as well”.
How exactly can the municipality support professionals working in the food service industry? The discussion highlighted the need to inform and raise awareness in both consumers and professionals, in order to gradually move away from plastics.
All participants expressed their concern about the costs of transitioning to plastic-free solutions, based on the new European law. During the discussion it also became apparent that there are still gaps in the national legislation.
The outcomes of the initiative will be concentrated in a collection of proposals, that will be submitted to the municipality, with the overall goal to be used and applied throughout central Athens.
We promised we would return!