This year, Novo Verde, a packaging waste compliance scheme, celebrates five years since it was first authorized. But these five years are much more than a handful of activities in favor of the environment: in 2016, after 20 years of monopoly, the packaging waste sector was opened to competition. At Novo Verde, the first company to activate this mission in a new paradigm, we defend that competition is one of the healthiest goods of any sector or bottler in the 21st century: choice. With competition, the markets become less resigned, and more dynamic and guarantee the possibility for all the stakeholders of the sector to choose – producers, packers and importers. As a result, the market, in general, becomes more efficient, and we all will benefit from it.
In these five years, Novo Verde has collected more than 121.587 tons of packaging waste, which is equivalent to more than 1700 tanks, to deal with the challenges Portugal faces in the proper management of this waste, in the name of a circular economy, the protection of natural resources and, of course, for our country, whose ecosystem is unique as it includes coasts, mountains, plains and dozens of natural parks. Since this turning point in the sector, Novo Verde has been the strategic choice of more than 282 partners, including 33 municipal waste management systems and 52 waste management companies that guarantee the management of around 55.471 collection points throughout the country and the islands.
In addition to extensive market integration as a result of the consolidated experience we have gained in an international network operating in a wide variety of markets, Novo Verde has launched a number of initiatives in the field of research and development, such as the Packaging Entreprise Award , and is integrating a number of very relevant pilot projects, namely MAFRA Reciclar a Valer +, financed by the Norwegian fund EEA Grants, and the awareness campaign Reciclar a Valer +, a reverse vending machine in Mafra to obtain discount vouchers for PET bottles. Consumers who joined the pilot project and handed in their bottles received discount vouchers with a total value of about 20 thousand euros in just one year, and 13 tons of this type of waste were collected.
Proximity is also a value that guides our activities, not only with our partners and members but also in structuring canals such as Horeca, as well as with all the generations. We have carried out about 300 campaigns to raise awareness about the proper distribution of packaging waste, such as Geração Verdão, in partnership with the Eco-Schools Program, as well as numerous actions at national events, from culture to sports, to take the environmental message to every consumer journey.
The year 2020 brought obstacles that we managed together and against all expectations, increasing the separate collection by 5.3% compared to the previous year, in the middle of the pandemic. Novo Verde has grown during this time, and so have the Portuguese – they have become more aware of the impact of their actions and what they can easily do to contribute to a green planet. May this be more and more the footprint we leave in our country and in the world.