iRec project celebrates 1 year with 1 million packages

iRec project celebrates 1 year with 1 million packages

One million beverage packages were collected, 70 tons sent for recovery, and 1.2 million CityPoints awarded. This is the balance of one year of the iREC – Inovar a Reciclagem project, which, since January 2021, has been testing a model of a Deposit System with Return in Cascais.

The initiative, promoted by Cascais Ambiente in partnership with Nova SBE, includes 15 deposit machines located in Mercado da Vila and the main retailers in the municipality, thus allowing Cascais residents to return their plastic, glass, or cans, receiving, in return, points in the CityPoints application, which can be exchanged for sustainable products.

Throughout this year, more than 100 thousand uses were registered in the mobile app for this purpose, totaling 1.2 million points earned by citizens. In return, citizens deposited around one million beverage packages, of which most (62%) corresponded to PET plastic bottles, followed by glass packages (27%) and cans (11%). Of the 70 tons that were sent for recycling, 80% are glass, which reveals the project's coordination.

Funded by the EEA Grants and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Action, iREC aims to prepare the different actors for the packaging deposit system that, soon, will become mandatory in Portugal. To Luís Almeida Capão, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cascais Ambiente:

“One year and one million packages are important milestones. With this Return Deposit System that we are experimenting with in Cascais, we test solutions that allow us to advance to the field with greater knowledge, as soon as the legislation is approved. We know today that the involvement of all stakeholders is essential for the system to work. A good link between the collection service and retailers is essential. A good communication, dissemination and information project aimed at citizens, together with the availability of machines in the most appropriate places, leads to greater adherence.”

Through the iREC pilot project – Inovar a Reciclagem, we seek to encourage the recycling and reuse of materials, making an important contribution to the implementation of the circular economy and sustainability policies at the local level, as has been advocated by the Chamber Municipality of Cascais. Although the date of entry into force of the deposit system with return for beverage packaging has not yet been defined, the Municipality of Cascais has already anticipated and is taking action to promote and comply with