Porto is a signatory of the Circular Cities Declaration

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Filipa Brito

Within a broader scope of the transition to the circular economy, the Municipality of Porto reaffirmed its commitment towards a “circular recovery and a resilient future”, in the beginning of the year, by signing theCircular Cities Declaration.

Porto is redefining how plastic is used and fights plastic waste. In addition to the campaigns to raise citizens’ awareness on plastic waste, Porto is a signatory of the Circular Cities Declaration, a document that establishes cities and regions’ commitment to transition from a linear to a circular economy by means of coherently decoupling economic growth and resource use. Porto also joined HISCAP – Historic Cities Against Plastic Waste, a network that includes over 50 European cities that are especially vulnerable to plastic pollution associated problems. The main goal is to develop and implement strategies based in bioplastic and biodegradable alternatives.

The Municipality of Porto is assessing the use of single use plastic within local government services to draft an Action Plan for Reduction and Elimination of Single Use Plastic within Municipal Services. The Municipality is evermore engaged in the prevention of plastic waste as regards consumption; the city joined the second phase of the national campaign, organised by the Portuguese Pact for Plastics (Pacto Português para os Plásticos), whose mission is to raise consumer’s awareness regarding plastic consumption.

The good performance by the Municipality of Porto was acknowledged during the presentation of the work group “Roteiro para os Plásticos 2025” (“Roadmap for Plastics 2025”, free translation), under the “Pacto Português para os Plásticos”, and it highlighted Porto’s integrated approached in circular economy, namely the potential to consolidate economic values and to reduce the ecological foot print. Specific policies have been developed for this vision to reduce plastic waste such as the promotion to use tap water, the installation of drinking fountains and the offering of water canteens to collaborators (to avoid the use of bottled water), and the supply of glass bottles in meetings and events.

In the context of the ongoing pandemic, it is worth highlighting that large capacity alcohol gel containers have been used for surface disinfection, which allowed reusing dozens of kilos of plastic waste.

Following a first phase where the focus was on consumption reduction the “Pacto Português para os Plásticos” focuses its impact on reuses and recycling. Total reduction of plastic consumption in our daily lives is a major challenge that calls for behavioural changes at many levels, from the industry to the consumer, namely by fostering reuse.

Thus, the Municipality of Porto continues to advance its commitment to reduce single use plastic consumption and to promote its reuse. This measure has had a huge impact in the city, as it enabled to phase out 5.3 tons of plastic and to identify 3.4 tons that are fit for reuse. In 2020 alone, the Municipal Company Porto Ambiente collected circa 3.450 tons of packaging, a growth of 2% compared with last year.