The extended producer responsibility program for packaging in Portugal has seen improving recovery volumes in recent years.
Joao Letras, the director of waste management for Ponte Verde, the Portuguese compliance system, recently noted the program works with every municipality in the country. The system is funded by 10,000 packaging stewards that pay recycling fees.
These communities collect 14 material categories, five of which are plastics (HDPE, PET, EPS, PE film and mixed plastics). Interestingly, Portugal relies on drop-off recycling, with more than 90 percent of residents living in communities employing drop-off systems.
Letras, who was a speaker at last week’s Plastics Recyclers Europe conference in Portugal, said the current plastics recovery level in the country is 76 percent. To process recovered plastic material, Ponte Verde currently works with 24 plastics recycling firms (16 in Portugal and six in neighboring Spain).
The Portuguese recovery system is currently paying to get rid of EPS and mixed plastics, and it is being paid for PET, PE and PE film.