Cans For Kids officially kicked off a year of celebrations to mark their 20th Anniversary, with a press conference at the Artos Foundation in Nicosia.

Founded in 1990, long before environmental issues gained the importance attached to them today, the small but dedicated team which runs the charity has spent the last 20 years not only collecting, sorting and baling for export cans from all over Cyprus, but also initiated a wide-reaching awareness programme in schools and clubs to educate people about the importance of recycling and the benefits accruing to the community from the project.

“Cans For Kids not only benefits the environment in terms of energy saving, less pollution and a cleaner island in which to live; most importantly, it actively gives back to the community by raising the standard of medical care available to the sick children of Cyprus” said the charity’s Administrator, Lakis Charalambous.

Cans For Kids estimates that it has recycled well over 22 million cans – which would otherwise be sitting in Cyprus’ landfill sites. With the proceeds, Cans For Kids has bought medical equipment for the children’s wards at the Makarios Hospital worth over €250,000.

From a small beginning in 1990, using their own cars, and collecting cans from friends, Cans For Kids has grown into a major player in recycling in Cyprus, with hundreds of can banks all over the island – from Polis in the west to Paralimni in the east, including many towns and villages not covered by other, newer, government-funded recycling schemes.

With just one employee and a small but dedicated group of volunteers, Cans For Kids collects and recycles approximately 10 per cent of all the used beverage cans (UBC) recycled on the island.

“Our tireless campaign, over 20 years, to get more and more people in Cyprus to recycle, is paying off” said Cans For Kids President Olga Demetriades. “We invite everyone to get involved and take part in the many events we have planned this year. We have shown that each and every one of us can make a difference. Indeed, we must, to ensure a sustainable future for our children”.

In line with their commitment to promote awareness of environmental issues and recycling, Cans For Kids is planning a wide range of 20th anniversary events, from colouring competitions to creating art from recyclable materials; from can sorting fiestas to film screenings, music concerts and a Gala dinner. They have already, in collaboration with the organisers of the Vineyard Film Festival, run a film workshop for children, who learned about recycling and made a film about it.

Environment Commissioner Charalambos Theopemptou and Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou both spoke at the press conference.

From left: Cans For Kids 20th anniversary co-ordinator Jenny Brown, Cans For Kids Administrator Lakis Charalambous, Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou and Environment Commissioner Charalambos Theopemptou.

Grateful thanks to Starbucks for providing coffee and cookies.