Clean Blue Paros

We are supporting this Greek island to become the first single-use plastic waste-free island in the Mediterranean and a global pioneer in the journey towards a plastic-free ocean.

Clean Blue Paros is a living, breathing demonstration of system change in action. Read on to find out how our local team is working with government, business, community groups and individuals to drive policy, invest in the circular economy and create a cultural shift in how the island uses and disposes of plastic.

In 2018, we chose to launch our very first Clean Blue Alliance project on the island of Paros. We selected Paros for several reasons, including community interest, governance, infrastructure, demographics, accessibility, partners, and the tourist and fisheries economy. We also wanted to demonstrate what it would look like for an island to prepare for and meet the requirements of the EU Single-Use Plastic Directive.

"We warmly welcome this important and vital collaboration with Common Seas and WATT, with the ambition to make Paros the first, pioneering Mediterranean island to become plastic waste-free." Mr. Markos Koveos
Mayor of Paros Island

Every summer, millions of holiday-makers flock to Greek islands to enjoy the country’s beautiful beaches and clean seas. Tourism contributes €35b to the Greek economy (almost 20% of GDP in 2017), but this comes at a high price. The population surge sees a like-for-like increase in waste, which presents a major environmental and economic risk. On Paros, the tourist season brings at least a 350% increase in waste. Much of this waste is single-use plastics, and too much of it ends up on beaches and in the sea.

As a lighthouse project, Clean Blue Paros is already inspiring and supporting other island communities – in Greece and around the world – to chart a course to healthy seas.

How it works.

Investigate Intervene Influence

Investigate

We have built a thorough understanding of Paros’ plastic ecosystem, exploring how people perceive plastic, how it ‘flows’ around the island, and which items are found where.

In year one:

  • We applied Plastic Drawdown to increase our understanding & design effective interventions
  • Together with waste engineers and marine and social scientists, we developed an approach to investigate plastics, identify key interventions and measure impact over time.
  • We trained more than 50 people to investigate plastics through marine and waste audits; 750+ took part in our social audit.

Intervene

Our solutions remove problem plastics from the economy and prevent plastic from becoming waste.

So far, we have:

  • Partnered with over 70 businesses to deliver systems to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics
  • Launched Community Dishes to remove single-use plastics from island festivals, avoiding 8,000 items at just one event
  • Reset the island’s relationship with tap water by testing water, installing water filters in schools and incentivising use of tap water through water bills
  • Designed and implemented separate collection of plastic beverage containers
  • Researched Deposit Refund System for cups and bottles

Influence

We track and monitor all our interventions so we can demonstrate their impact over time. The success of Clean Blue Paros is already informing wider government policy and inspiring change around the world.

So far, we have:

  • Installed our education programme to inspire the next generation of sea champions
  • Developed Clean Blue tools ready to scale to other islands
  • Presented Clean Blue to the Government to support other islands to accelerate the circular economy.

Clean Blue Paros is a ground-breaking collaboration between Paros Municipality, the Cyclades Preservation Fund, WATT, WWF Greece and pioneering local Paros businesses.

"We all share a love for the environment and experience nature’s wonder, particularly when we are on the Greek islands. We welcome this important initiative that will invest in incubating and accelerating viable enterprises developed on the island, enable a higher volume of waste to be recycled, and preserve the beauty of Paros for generations to come."

Mr. Athanasios Katris
Chief Executive Officer of WATT

Get involved

We'd love to hear from you.

There are lots of ways to support Clean Blue Paros and Common Seas, and we are always on the lookout for new investment, new ideas and new partners.

  • For enquiries or to explore a partnership, please get in touch with the local team on [email protected]
  • If you’d like to find out about using Clean Blue Alliance in your region, get in touch with Jo at [email protected]
  • To support our work, please head to our donate page.

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