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Setubal gets serious about urban organic waste

Setubal gets serious about urban organic waste

An initiative unfolding in several steps

As of 1 January 2024, it will be mandatory for Portuguese households to sort and separately dispose of organic waste that has been generated domestically. The City of Setubal is not wasting any time and opportunity to introduce a system that will get residents accustomed to the new way of waste management and policy.

With financial support from the EU Cohesion Fund, the authorities in that city are implementing a plan of inculcating correct practices around the issue of sorting, separating and disposing of organic waste thanks to an informational campaign and the free issuing of specialized containers to residents.

Did you know that 40% of household trash is generated by organic material?

The overall plan is to turn towards a more sustainable lifestyle and if we can use a metaphor it would be – not letting waste go to waste. New technologies have already figured out ways to effectively extract beneficial use out of organic refuse by converting it into compost or biofuel.

Considering that 40% of household trash consists of biodegradable material it is easy to agree that it is about time things moved in that direction. Furthermore, authorities argue that this system will relieve pressure on landfills and extend their lifetimes as a result.

The initiative is already in its second stage, with the first one having covered some of the neighbourhoods of the municipality. The new phase apart from expanding its territorial scope is also accompanied by an informational campaign, which will include among other things meetings with the target population, apart from brochures and other materials.

Residents who are interested in joining in these initial phases can go to setubalcomposto-form.pt (in Portuguese) to fill a form. They will then be contacted and visited by technicians who will provide them with two containers, one with a capacity of 10 litres and the other of 40 litres.

These containers will only be used for organic matter, with the smaller one staying in the kitchen and regularly emptied into the bigger one, which will stay in the yard or balcony. On collection days the larger containers will be placed on the street for the truck to empty. A later phase will try out having residents empty their containers into larger ones that will be buried into the ground.

Authorities also warn that green plant materials, such as leaves, branches and shrubs should be collected separately from food matter and placed in green bags. The reason is that the greenery will go into creating biofuel and the food organics will be turned into fertilizer.

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