Hydra's Recycling Machine

Recycling plastic bottles, tins & glass bottles on Hydra Island Greece.


The Municipality of Hydra has a responsibility to dispose of waste on Hydra Island Greece. As with municipalities all over Greece and many local councils in other countries, the Hydra Municipality struggles with funding. The global solution is followed on Hydra and so some of the waste disposal solutions are contracted out to specialist suppliers and providers.


The large recycling machine in Hydra Town is just one example of the Municipality of Hydra contracting out one of the waste disposal services for the island.


Some Facts:


  • The machine is owned & supplied by a Greek mainland company. It is not owned by the Hydra Municipality.
  • The owners of the machine have a contract with the Municipality to supply the machine and to remove the waste it processes.
  • The machine and disposal does not cost the Municipality anything. (The company makes its income from selling on the waste.)
  • The machine processes tins, some types of plastic bottles & glass bottles.
  • The company employs one Hydriot (part-time) to keep the machine running and to prepare loads for removal by boat off the island.
  • Once processed, the crates & sacks of waste material can be stored inside, at the back of the machine to await removal.



How To Use The Recycle Machine


Hydriots are invited to bring their empty tins, plastic and glass bottles to the machine and to 'deposit' them in the appropriate slots to be broken up into smaller pieces for more compact storage.


Ideally the lids from bottles (glass and plastic) should be removed first (and disposed of in general waste)


The machine processes:

  • Plastic water bottles (large and small)
  • Some fizzy drink bottles (but will reject the hard plastic variety, which still need to go in general waste)
  • Tins (from drinks such as coca kola, beer, etc., (but it does not process the larger food tins at this time)
  • Glass bottles (spirit & wine 70cl)


Residents are respectfully requested to dispose of the container they use to bring their recycling material in a responsible way or preferably to use a recyclable bag!


Suggestion For Residents


Hydra is plagued by non-biodegradable plastic bags and black liners! So it is suggested for residents who like to be as 'green' as possible and those who wish to help to REDUCE as much waste as they can, that they store and then transport their recycling material (bottles & tins) in RE-USEALE bags.


All of the hardware stores and some of the supermarkets on Hydra sell these large capacity re-usable laundry bags which are ideal to collect recyclable items in the home. Rinsing the bottles and tins before putting them in the bag will help to avoid insects and smell. For larger homes, it would make sense to have three different coloured ones for each type of waste item.


RE-USABLE bags (especially as they are cheap and can be folded to a convenient small size when not in use) that can be used for shopping too (although you would probably need a mule for delivery due to the weight) will help to further reduce rubbish blowing around the island and cut down on non-biodegradable waste.


Encouraging School Children To Environmentally Responsible


As of publication of this page (10/11/2016) the company that owns the machine, working in conjunction with Hydra's schools, runs a competition twice a year for the children. All school children can take part. They collect tokens for the items they collect and deposit in the machine (dispensed from the machine) and whichever child collects the most tokens wins that particular competition and is given a prize (such as an MP3 player). As observed by many on the island, this form of award for recycling does work, which is good, but it would be preferable if the children were conscientious enough to do it all the time. But in my opinion, it is at least a step in the right direction as 'Rome Wasn't Built In A Day' and certainly changing attitudes on Hydra will take years of perseverance to positively alter.



Issues & Problems


When it is working, the Hydra Recycle Machine makes a wonderful contribution to the Eco-Campaign to reduce waste being dumped as landfill on Hydra. BUT it sometimes doesn't work, often for days at a time.




For people who live in Hydra Town, the current recycling machine is very conveniently located. But for residents who live in Kamini, Four Corners, Kiaffa and even further out at Vlychos and Mandraki, it is understandably difficult to bring waste to the machine in Hydra town. The solution is for the supply company to install more machines in Kamini and Vlychos. As of publication (10/11/16) negotiation for this increased service is in hand. But until the following issue, with the supply of Blue Bags, is resolved the supply of more machines cannot really be addressed.




The waste material processed by the Recycling Machine MUST go into the very strong blue bags that are specifically designed to be strong enough for the sharp material (broken glass and tins that have been flattened and so are also very sharp) to be transported. Waste material cannot be shipped in other types of bags because they will split and waste material will be scattered.


So the MAIN REASON for the recycling machine not working is the NON DELIVERY OF THE BLUE BAGS that the waste must be collected and transported in.


The blue bags are supplied by ANOTHER company further down the supply line. The blue bags are supplied by a separate company from the one that supplies/maintains and operates the recycling machine. Often the blue bag suppliers can't keep up with demand (as they supply a large proportion of ALL of Greece, not just Hydra). So this is the reason why our Recycling Machine is out of action sometimes because it is simply full up and there aren't anymore blue bags to use.




Mr Mavromatis, who works for the supplier of the machine, checks the machine two and sometimes three times a day. When he does not have a supply of the blue bags, all he can do is to keep phoning the machine company, who in turn phone the supplier to keep asking for more bags! During the 'down time' Mr Mavromatis can store a limited number of bags of unprocessed bottles and tins in the storage space at the back of the machine - but this is not very large. The Municipality have talked about providing one of the lock up storage properties in the market square to be used for over-flow. However, extra municipal storage still hasn't happened and probably this isn't the best solution either. Unfortunately, especially in summer, the crushed or non-processed waste material, quickly becomes very smelly and attracts vermin so storing large quantities is not desirable.


If there are operational problems with the machine then you can phone Mr (Roulis) Mavromatis on 6972108269 or you can call him before you leave with your recycle items to check the machine is working to save you bringing it to town when it's not.




While many people on Hydra feel that it is the fault of the Municipality or operator of the recycling machine when it is not working, I hope that the content of this page will explain why it sometimes doesn't work and why it isn't a physical lack of effort on either part of the municipality or the operators of the actual machine. However, they should still be notified by residents if the machine isn't working so that they can 'nag' the supplier to send more bags!


Logically the solution is to lobby for

a) a more reliable supply of blue bags and then

b) get more recycling machines in accessible locations for everyone and

c) to have reliable notification when the machine is working so residents don't have a wasted journey when they bring their waste!


To help those who want to use the machine:

  • I will undertake to check to see if it is working each morning. If it is working:
    • I will post the 'Hydra Eco Lovers' logo on
    • the home page of HydraDirect.com
    • my own Facebook page,
    • the HydraDirect Facebook page as well as
    • the Hydra Eco Lovers page

In this way, everyone can quickly check to see whether they should bring their recyclable items to town or not. I hope this will help. In the meantime, for those who wish to lobby for more a better supply of Blue Bags and for more machines, please join the Hydra Eco Lovers Facebook page.


Hydra Eco Lovers

Lobbying for Environmental Responsibility

On Hydra there are many residents and home owners who are very aware of environmental issues and the need to take positive action to protect the fragile eco-structure of our planet and specifically our beautiful island. All Hydra Eco Lovers are encouraged to join their voice with hundreds of others on the dedicated 'Hydra Eco Lovers' Facebook Group.

Location of Recycling Machine


The recycling machine is located in the old 'Argora' (Market) near the Post Office. From the centre of the harbour, take Oikonomou Street (with Elena Votsi shop on the corner. Walk half way up Oikonomou Street and turn right into the market square and you will see the recycling machine in the far corner. (Diagonally across the square from the Post Office.)


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