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Interview given by Mr. Konstantinos Karpouchtsis on the website

Collecting and composting of organic waste is an authentic example of eco-innovation.
Promoting them leads to lower management costs, new opportunities for growth, job
creation for the unemployed, new recycling and agricultural economists, bio-waste re-use,
skills enhancement, and the construction of diversified local economies.

What is the role of the social economy in managing “green waste” and in the cyclical
economy? The response can be given by the project “Green employment in the
management of bio-wastes”, a European co-funded project that has been included in the
Cross-Border Territorial Cooperation Program “Greece -Bulgaria 2014-2020 “.

The program is implemented by the Municipality of Serres, the Aristotle University of
Thessaloniki ,the Municipality of Nestos and the Municipality of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria and
aims to become the accelerator of social entrepreneurship in the field of “eco-innovation”.
Its social character is critical to the general development of the economy, which is a key
aspect of both countries’ strategic plan.

“By implementing the pilot project, we are actively recognizing the role and initiatives that
local government should take in promoting cyclical and social economy actions,” said
Mr.Kostas Karpouchtsis, Municipal Councilor for Programming & Development Department
of the Municipality of Serres.

As Lead Partner, Municipality of Serres is responsible of creating a public awareness
campaign concerning social entrepreneurship and management of biodegradable waste,
along with the implementation of S.W.O.T. analysis, the creation of a social economy
networking report and a manual of social cooperation enterprises.
At the same time, Municipality of Serres has taken the responsibility of the demonstration
of a pilot composting unit (aerobic fermentation) in a special area of ​​the Cleaning
Department .

Within the framework of the Green Crew project, the Municipality of Serres will organize a
Training Week that will be held in the first half of 2019. The aim of the training week will be
the informing of citizens concerning business opportunities that arise from the use of green

The objectives of the project are the development of existing and the creation of new social
enterprises (mainly in the field of waste management), the increase of social services in
communities with negative socio-economic indicators, the promotion of alternative waste
management with measures and infrastructure for sorting and composting “Green” waste,
as well as raising public awareness of actions of collegiality and solidarity.

The management of green waste will be done through the aerobic fermentation process
(composting), while the produced compost will be used to meet the needs of the
Municipality of Serres (e.g. parks), he said.

According to Mr. Karpouchtsis, the implementation of the project aims in the mobilization of
the field of utilization of non-hazardous pre-treated bio-waste as raw material within the
framework of the cyclical economy that aims to re-integrate such waste as a new product in
the local product activity, while at the same time maximizing the environmental and
socioeconomic benefits of the network of social cooperatives.
One of the environmental benefits is the exploitation and utilization of plant residues of
coal, resulting in the reduction of its footprint, as well as new initiatives for the collection,
management and reuse of waste.

Within the framework of this project, the main focus is the support and development of
social cooperative entrepreneurship with an emphasis on eco-innovation in the wider region
of Bulgaria-Greece, by creating the conditions for the promotion of alternative types of
entrepreneurship, alongside the local development.