Managing waste in Aphrodite's birthplace

Written by: RWW | Published:

The seaside resort of Paphos on the island of Cyprus is a very popular tourist destination in the summer months, making managing the collection and transfer of waste an important task for the municipality. Tim Byrne, specialist in waste collection in Mediterranean countries, reports.

The third largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus lies off the Southern coast of Turkey and is a popular tourist destination with a population that increases considerably during the summer months.

Paphos, capital city of the Paphos district, is a coastal city in the South West of Cyprus that is rich in historical and archaeological treasure with an indigenouas population of over 30,000. 

When it comes to waste collection in the city, waste containers of 660 and 1100 litre capacity are provided in Paphos town centre and its suburbs at communal collection points along the roadside. Where there are large apartment blocks and large restaurants, additional containers are provided for the extra quantities of waste produced through the summer season. Household dustbins used for waste at bars and tavernas are also emptied and returned to their owners.

Collection crews

The collection service is provided by the municipality of Paphos. It uses rear loading collection vehicles of 16 cubic metres capacity and in two-axle configuration. Each collection crew comprises three personnel; a driver and two loaders. The collection service starts in the town centre from 3am, but 5am in the outer suburbs. Collection vehicles normally collect two loads each day holding a net payload of 10,500 tonnes. This payload is partly due to the large amount of food waste collected from bars, restaurants, apartments and hotels in central Paphos.

The collection vehicles are of 16 cubic metres capacity and are supplied by Panaos, a local Cypriot manufacturer. 

They are mounted on two-axle Iveco Eurocargo and Scania four series chassis which feature a day cab with seating accommodation for a driver and two collection operatives. To ease driver fatigue, all chassis feature the Allison automatic transmission. The 3000 series model is fitted in the Iveco Eurocargo chassis while the 4000 series model is fitted in the Scania four series chassis.

The two loaders place the 660 and 1100 litre containers at the rear of the waste collection vehicle to be emptied by the vehicle’s lifting mechanism. 

Once emptied, the loaders return them to the communal collection point. The waste collection vehicle continues its journey to the next communal collection point with the two operatives standing on the rear steps of the collection vehicle. 

Any excess waste consisting of bags, cardboard boxes, etc is also loaded into the hopper of the collection vehicle. 

Once the waste collection service has been completed, the streets are cleaned by the municipality with mechanical sweepers.

Hotel collections

Waste is collected from some hotels in 660 and 1100 litre containers while other hotels are provided with Bergmann portable skip compactors which the municipality believe is more productive as they can hold five tonnes of waste, and only need to be emptied twice a week. In comparison, the 660 and 1100 litre containers need emptying daily. 

The skip compactors are collected from the hotels and transported to the landfill site outside Paphos where the load is discharged. 

Once empty, the compactor containers are returned to the hotel so that fresh waste can be loaded. The compactor containers are collected by third party private companies with a conventional skip loading vehicle of 18 tonnes gross vehicle weight and in two-axle configuration subcontracted by the municipality of Paphos. 

These skip loaders have been acquired from the UK second hand and feature equipment manufactured by Maclift, Telehoist, Powell Duffryn and Hyva. Although the vehicles are second hand, they have all been repainted so that they look respectable while working on behalf of the municipality.

Once the waste collection service has been completed by the conventional waste collection vehicles and the vehicles are loaded, they travel to the new landfill near Paphos which opened in 2006. 

On arrival, all collection vehicles are weighed on a computerised weighbridge. With gross vehicle weight and payload recorded, they drive on to the landfill and discharge their load at the tip face, before returning to the landfill to collect their weighbridge ticket with their respective weights itemised. 

Collection vehicles leave the site to either continue with their collection route or they return to the depot for the end of shift.

The landfill site was constructed to comply with the European Union landfill directive 1999/31/EC. This was because Cyprus was preparing to join the European Union as well as having to close old dumping sites because they did not meet the criteria of sound landfill practices. The landfill site is open from 7am until 5pm seven days a week. 

However, this creates problems when the collection vehicle working in Paphos from 3am fills up by 5am. The driver and crew from Paphos have to sit for one and a half hours outside the landfill, waiting for it to open. 

The landfill also receives waste from other municipalities who also face the same problem if they begin their waste collection services in the small hours. There have also been waste transfer stations constructed across Cyprus which started operating approximately the same time as the new sanitary landfill site. Both the transfer stations and the sanitary landfill were funded by EU Cohesion Funds. 

The new transfer stations are not located near Paphos, so it would be uneconomical for waste collection vehicles to travel from this municipality to discharge their load at these transfer stations.

Converting heat to power

The landfill extracts methane through the use of a flare torch and the heat extracted is exported to the power industry. Leachate is treated in a lagoon, and once the initial treatment has taken place, it is transported off site to a desalination plant for further treatment. Once the leachate has undergone further treatment and has been stabilised, it is discharged into the sewer system under a consented discharge. Other infrastructure is also being built on the landfill site. 

An anaerobic digestion plant is part of the future plans for the site, as well as a material recycling facility and a construction and demolition wastes facility. 

The latter two projects will help to pre-treat municipal and construction and demolition waste with only the rejects being deposited into the landfill cell.

Essentially, the municipality of Paphos provides an efficient waste collection service to its residents and tourist industry. With the continual roll-out of static portable compactors to hotels, the municipality will help save money for many years to come through reducing operational and labour costs in providing an efficient waste collection service to its residents and the tourist industry. 


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