Sustainability Day is celebrated for the first time in Portugal

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Miguel Nogueira

On a date when sustainability is celebrated, for the first time, in Portugal, Porto Ambiente stands out the involvement of Porto inhabitants around this cause and in favour of the city, by sending more than 149 thousand tons of waste for recycling, in the last five years alone; which prevented the emission of around 182 thousand tons of CO2 equivalent into the atmosphere.

In 2022, historic numbers had already been achieved, with each Porto resident separating, on average, around 80 kg per inhabitant per year of packaging waste, more than 10 kg compared to 2021, and above the target of 60 kg per inhabitant per year. About this year’s numbers, in the first semester of 2023, 8 671,73 tons were collected, which represents an increase of 10,3% compared to the same period last year, with 9 583,19 tons of recyclables collectable.

The residential organic collection has contributed to these numbers, which, by the end of the year, will have global cover all over the city, by placing 900 containers. By correctly directing their organic waste, the Porto residents allowed around 4.300 tons of waste to be diverted from their “undifferentiated” destination contributing to its recovery.

Efforts towards a more sustainable city extend to the company and, since the beginning of September, Porto Ambiente became the first entity to (re)use water (ApR) produced at ETAR of Freixo, to clean the public space, used to wash streets and containers. Thus, the municipal company promotes the reuse of this resource, reducing the environmental, social, and economic impact of its operation in the city.

Another of the company’s goals is the decarbonization of its fleet, through the investment of around ten million euros in the purchase of more sustainable equipment and vehicles, for urban cleaning and waste collection in the city.

In the case of public space cleaning, the funds are intended for the purchase of equipment, namely sweeping ones, mostly electrical, essential to place this area at the forefront of best practices, achieving greater efficiency, in line with the goals of the recent internalization of this activity. In waste collection, the aim is to modernize the fleet with more sustainable solutions, such as vehicles powered by natural gas, which impacts on the quality of service provided to the citizens.

These initiatives are integrated into the company’s decarbonization strategy, in line with the objectives of carbon neutrality, recommended by the Porto Climate Pact. The initiative officially launched a year ago, in September 2022, already brings together more than 600 subscribers, including members of civil society, organizations, companies, and institutions united for carbon neutrality in the city by 2030.