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“Reciclar a Valer+” has already transformed the delivery of over one million PET plastic bottles into more than 38.000 euros for consumers.

Launched in October 2019 by Novo Verde in collaboration with the Municipality of Mafra and Tratolixo, the pilot project “Reciclar a Valer+” has already passed the milestone of one million PET plastic bottles collected in the reverse vending machine installed in Pingo Doce Malveira, with the aim of promoting the circular economy through incentives for consumers.

During this period, 41.583 PET plastic bottles were handed in, an average of 24 per deposit. The month with the highest total number of deposit bottles was September 2020, when more than 74.000 units were returned for recycling. For each deposit bottle, the consumer receives a discount coupon(€0.02 for bottles up to 0.50 litres and €0.05 for bottles over 0.50 litres and up to 2 litres), depending on the packaging size, which can be redeemed in the store. So far, more than 40 thousand vouchers have been issued, with a total value of €38.932,98.

Ricardo Neto, President of Novo Verde, emphasizes: “These results have completely exceeded our expectations! One million PET bottles in less than two years in a single facility make this pilot project a success story in terms of promoting the circular economy. This is an example that should be considered at the national level for the future deposit and return system, which will bring benefits to the environment and consumers. We believe that incentives contribute to and accelerate behavioural change by increasing rates of correct disposal of packaging waste, thus ensuring its recycling. These figures reflect increasingly active participation of consumers, who are an essential part of the waste management chain.”

Lúcia Bonifácio, Councillor for the Environment at Mafra City Council, concludes, “The environment, the territory and the citizens win. This project has helped citizens establish new habits. The correct disposal of packaging allows them to live a better life. The way the project was conceived allowed the creation of a truly sustainable cycle for packaging, allowing the restructuring of waste production by not producing more, consuming more and generating more waste, but promoting reuse and recycling after consumption. For these actions, everyone who cares about the environment should be rewarded in some way.”

Ricardo Castro, director of Tratolixo, stresses that “with this project, the packaging arrives to us clean and without impurities, eliminating the sorting process and increasing the efficiency of recycling.”

This initiative is part of the European Union’s overall waste management policies and objectives, as well as the European Strategy for Plastics, which requires all packaging made of this material placed on the market in the European Union to be reusable or easily recyclable by 2030. Plastic beverage bottles, as single-use plastic products, should be subject to refund schemes or other measures that have a direct positive impact on the collection rate and thus on the quality of the collected and recycled material.

The pilot project “Reciclar a Valer+” is an initiative of Novo Verde in collaboration with the City Council of Mafra and Tratolixo – Treatment of Urban Solid Waste.

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