Recycle your Sail
The new pilot project aims to activate entrepreneurs in recreational yachts and their visitors and raise awareness on waste management. It is implemented in Santorini in collaboration with the Municipal Port Fund of Thira and the support of PepsiCo Hellas.
The project was designed with a view to promoting prevention, waste removal, education and active participation of local authorities, citizens, businesses and visitors on the island of Santorini, a top tourist destination in the world. The message behind this project is very clear: the protection of the sea concerns both the local population and the island’s visitors. To this respect, the project attempts for the first time to highlight, among others, the responsibility of visitors in reducing their environmental footprint on an island that already faces heavy pressure from the increase of touristic activity and the ineffective management of the relevant consequences.
Sorting at the source on recreational yachts
In Santorini, more than 180 professional boats offer touristic excursions around the island, attracting a large percentage from the 800.000 tourists that visit the island annually. However, the lack of a waste management plan on the boats resulted in non-existent collection of recyclable materials. At the same time, the data of our organization show that the impact on the seabed of Santorini, like in any island with a massive influx of visitors, is directly related to tourist activity.
In this context, the project focuses on placing special collection bags for recyclable materials on the boats. This idea resulted from our previous consultation with the owners and crew of the boats that participate in the project, who noted their needs concerning their sailing trips. Our organization then ordered special bags made of recycled PET material, which were distributed to the boats participating in the project, in order to collect plastic and aluminum waste separately. The quantity of recyclable materials is counted and then forwarded to the Sorting Center of Recyclable Materials of Santorini, together with the material that has been collected in the Marine Litter Collection Station that we have installed in the port of Vlychada.
The project implementation started early in July with the participation of a satisfactory number of boats, that is around 25% of the total fleet that docks in Vlychada. Since its implementation, the project has shown some impressive results regarding the quantity of recyclable materials that are collected, and this outcome encourages us to further expand it to more boats.
The project also includes the placement of awareness and information signs in central locations of the island. These signs, among others, display messages regarding the responsibility and constructive role that visitors can play in reducing their environmental footprint. At the same time, they provide information about the content and goals of the project and invite visitors to be part of an innovative action that can be a blueprint for other touristic places in Greece.