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Following the completion of the research we conducted in the area of Kalamata, we submitted the findings report to the Ministry of Environment and Energy and to Mr. Amiras, Deputy Minister in charge of Environmental Protection, and his cabinet. The research concerns the consumption and recycling of disposable plastics as well as the trends regarding their replacement in the wider area of Kalamata and Messinia. The survey, which involved 450 consumers, 15 central coffee shops and 10 hotel units, yielded some very interesting findings which led to evidence-based proposals for action involving all relevant stakeholders, enterprises, and industry.

Specifically and according to the research data, which are presented here in detail, extensive use of disposable plastics was found, mainly due to the wide availability and ease of use which make plastic particularly popular. The disposable plastics that seem to be used the most are straws and plastic water bottles. While the public is aware of the problem with disposable plastics, it emphasizes the need for more effective information on the problems they cause in the environment. At the same time, it is found that disposable plastics are not recycled properly. Consumers and professionals alike are in favor of replacing disposable containers with reusable containers, noting that there are barriers to the use of reusable containers that need to be addressed. Consumers prefer companies that use alternatives to disposable plastics, but professionals have not yet replaced disposable containers with reusable ones, mainly because of their cost.

The above findings complement and confirm the data we have collected so far through the implementation of 54 expanded coastal and underwater clean-up operations and the operation of 14 Marine Waste Collection Stations on Aegean and Ionian islands, and pave the way to even more evidence-based proposals and actions.

We thank all those who participated in the research, the Municipality of Kalamata for the support, and Nescafe for the kind sponsorship.

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