The tourism industry generates considerable amounts of waste in peak season

Algarve tourism sector concerned about new directive on waste

Algarve tourism sector concerned about new directive on waste

It may lead to trash accumulation at the peak of the tourist season

Algarve Tourism Board head João Fernandes has warned that the region runs an “enormous risk” of being left with uncollected trash due to a new waste management regime which will come into effect on 1 January 2022. The new law will make it mandatory for large waste-producing businesses to have their trash managed and collected by private companies instead of the municipal waste system.

The measure will affect those companies that produce more than 1,100 litres of waste a day, which would therefore affect establishments, such as hotels, restaurants and retail. In turn, Mr Fernandes argues that this would increase the operational costs of these business operations, on one hand, and on the other, it would create operational issues as there are simply not enough private waste-collecting firms.

This could potentially damage the destination’s image

According to Lusa News Agency, João Fernandes gave the example of a campsite in the region, which would pay 800 euros a month at the municipal waste services in Portimão but would see the bill rise to 6,000 euros a month, or "seven times more" with a private company providing the same service.

What’s more, there just aren’t enough companies to handle the demand for such services in the opinion of the Tourism Board President. In his view, the current private operators do not have that kind of capacity and the time allowed for the market to readjust to the new rules is insufficient.

The new law is a result of the transposition of an EU directive on waste management to the Portuguese legal system. Supposedly, there is an exception clause, which allows a company to request the municipal waste collecting services if it can show proof that five private operators have refused to provide the service.

According to Mr Fernandes, however, collecting such documentation is quite burdensome since the Portuguese Environment Agency also has to give its ‘opinion’ on each case.

He recommended that the authorities allowed for a longer grace period and revise their definition of what constitutes a large waste producer in a way that will not impede the operation of the tourism industry. The latter is quite important for the economic vitality of the southern region of Algarve.



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