FAQ - Awareness

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Lipor and Environmental Education 

Lipor - Intermunicipal Waste Management of Greater Porto has always been particularly interested in areas such as Environmental Education, as a complement to its main activity, waste treatment and recovery.

So DECRI (Education, Communication and Institutional Relations Department) organises and promotes several projects for several age groups, in order to raise awareness, provide information and training regarding the Environment and, particularly, the waste sector.
Every 2 years, an Environmental Education Plan is presented, which includes activities like thematic sessions, reuse and recycling workshops, educational games and training sessions.
In addition, as a way of promoting Waste Production Prevention, the 3 Rs Policy ans Waste Sorting, Lipor also allows school visits to its facilities, conducts awareness campaigns in markets, beaches and shopping centres, vacation camps, contests, among other activities.

What is the 3 Rs Policy?

The 3 Rs Policy consists of a group of measures adopted in 1992, in the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, as well as in the Fifth European Community Environment Programme of 1993.
The 3 Rs mean Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Firstly and more importantly, we need to reduce the amount of waste produced, in order to minimise its impacts on the environment.
We can also reuse materials in order to extend their service life and prevent waste production, considering that some materials can be used several times. To reuse means to use again what was considered to be garbage, avoiding its elimination.
When there's no other option, waste must be sorted for recycling. Recycling means transforming waste, whether back into its original form or into another product, in order to reintroduce it to the market. Recycling saves energy, raw materials and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills or incineration facilities.
What should you do?
 buy only essential products;
 prefer bulk, economy size, rechargeable and recyclable products;
 avoid using plastic bags offered in supermarkets.

 transform packages into toys or decorative items;
 reuse glass jars or plastic bottles;
 transform waste into works of art.

 sort waste (glass, paper and cardboard, plastic, metal and batteries) and place it in the eco-containers. 

What products result from the recycling of used packaging? 

The recycling of used packaging consists of the reprocessing and use of those materials for the production of new products, with or without the addition of raw materials, in a practically endless cycle.
Recycling allows us to recover packaging materials (which would otherwise have a shorter life cycle) and produce several products we use on a daily basis: transport pallets, coating and boards for construction works and bricolage, clothing, fibres for padding, high quality metal bars, parts for household appliances (such as water heaters and stoves), new bottles and jars, new packages, books, newspapers, writing paper, high quality flat or corrugated cardboard, toilet paper, garden furniture, pots, tubes, particle boards for the production of furniture, among others. 

How can my participation in environmental protection become easier? 

Use two bins for your domestic waste: one for organic waste (food scraps) and another for plastic and metal packages. Due to their larger dimensions, glass packages can be stored, for instance, in a balcony, pantry or storeroom. Paper and cardboard can be stored in any room, for instance, inside a cardboard box, as they don't release odours. You should flatten paper and cardboard packaging, in order to reduce their volume and increase storage capacity, thus reducing the number of times you have to go to the eco-container. Whenever possible, you should empty the packages completely and flatten them, so that they take up less space. If you think it's necessary, you can wash them to avoid unpleasant odours. Wood packages should also be separated, but these can only be disposed of in drop-off sites. 


How can I sort my used packages? 

The first step to recycling is the domestic separation of used packages according to the type of material (metal and plastic, paper/cardboard, glass and wood). For a proper separation of packaging waste, please follow the instructions given by your local authority, available in collection equipments and other information sources. You can also consult disposal tips regarding the different materials and other useful information here.


What shall I do with used cooking oils?

Unfortunately, most of the times used cooking oils - UCO - (sunflower, soya, olive oil) are poured down the sink.
This is a voluntary or involuntary mistake which has environmental impact!
Separating used cooking oils has many environmental, social and economic advantages, as it will allow a proper final handling of this type of waste. Some of the most important advantages are the avoidance of water contamination (one litre of cooking oil contaminates about 1 million litres of water, which is the average amount of water a person consumes in 14 years!), the conservation of pipes, the proper operation of Waste Water Treatment Plants and the adoption of an exemplary attitude of a citizen who is aware of the current problems that influence the future of the planet and the next generations.
The sorted UCO are disposed of in specific containers ("oleões"), collected and sent to recycling, to be used namely for the production of natural soap or biodiesel (biofuel).
These specific containers for UCO exist currently in all associated municipalities, within LIPOR's area of intervention. Find your nearest container for UCO disposal
If you can't use one of these collection points, store the cooking oils in plastic bottles or absorb the oil with used paper napkins and place them in the unsorted waste container. This way you won't damage or contaminate watercourses! 

What is the relevance of biofuels? 

Biofuel is a liquid or gaseous fuel obtained from biological material (not fossil) and used for transportation.
The fact that fossil fuel reserves are finite and their price is constantly changing as a consequence of global political and economic instability, as well as the increase in environmental concern have greatly contributed to the search for other energy sources. 
This need for change has stimulated investment in technologies that would allow the use of new alternative fuels, like biodiesel.
Biodiesel is a type of biofuel that results from a transesterification process, which consists of a chemical reaction between a vegetable oil (virgin or used) or animal fat and an alcohol (methanol or ethanol), using a catalyst.
Used cooking oils from restaurants or the domestic sector are thus an excellent source of materials for biodiesel production.
Used cooking oil recycling allows us to:
 Give a proper final destination to used cooking oils;
 Avoid the contamination of watercourses;
 Improve the operation of Waste Water Treatment Plants;
 Decrease consumption of and dependence on fossil fuels;
 Reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
Recent studies show that about 125,000 tons of used cooking oils are produced each year in Portugal, and only a small amount is properly sent to recovery facilities.
Biodiesel can be used in its pure form (B100, 100% biodiesel) or blended with petroleum diesel, in which the biodiesel ratio is represented by the "B" factor (for instance, a mixture with 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel is called B20). 
If the biodiesel ratio is adequate to the vehicle characteristics, like age, type (heavy or light) and maintenance regarding filter replacement, its use will not affect the normal operation of the vehicle.
The incorporation of biodiesel in petroleum diesel should be gradual, i. e., when you're starting to use biofuel, you should increase the biodiesel ratio in long intervals.
Lipor's fleet already uses petroleum diesel with a percentage of biodiesel. 

What happens to the used packaging we place in eco-containers and other selective collection equipments?

Local authorities provide vehicles which collect and transport used packages to a Sorting Plant, where they are rigorously sorted according to the type of material. For instance, ferrous metals are separated from non-ferrous metals; plastics are separated according to substance (PVC, PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, PS, among others). Sorting ensures the uniformity and quality needed for recycling. After this selection process, packaging waste is baled according to the type of material and Sociedade Ponto Verde sends it to recycling companies. 

What are the advantages of Recycling? 

Recycling used packages has several environmental and economic advantages:
  Energy savings;
  Decrease in use of raw materials and preservation of natural resources;
  Decrease in the amount of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) that goes to landfills, thus increasing the service life of these infrastructures. 

I want to buy a new refrigerator. What should I do with the used one? 

When you decide to dispose of an appliance, you can choose one of three options: exchange the used appliance for a new one, use a selective collection circuit or donate it. If the appliance still works, many institutions would be happy to receive it.
When you buy a new electrical appliance (toaster, microwave, television, washing machine, etc.) you can hand over the used one to the store, for free, as long as it is the same type of appliance, with the same function. This also applies to home delivery services.
You can also contact your City Council and ask for the collection of large domestic items or dispose of them in drop-off sites or any other authorised waste reception centres.
The appliances collected are then sent to the proper facilities to be (totally or partially) reused or dismantled and recycled.

What should I do with fluorescent lamps? 

Don't throw these lamps away with unsorted waste and, more importantly, don't place them in the green container (for glass). Fluorescent or discharge lamps cannot be disposed of with unsorted waste, because they contain hazardous substances that should be collected separately.
When these bulbs burn out, you can hand them over, for free, to the establishment where you're going to buy the new lamp. You can also dispose of them in collection centres for waste electrical and electronic equipment or drop-off sites that receive this type of waste.
Economic lamps can be placed together with fluorescent lamps. 

What are large domestic items? 

Large domestic items include household appliances, electronic equipment, old furniture and other types of waste that cannot be disposed of in eco-containers or the unsorted waste container, due to their characteristics or dimensions. First of all, check if they are still fit for use and can be donated to charitable institutions.
Some City and Parish Councils collect large items placed near waste containers or provide door-to-door collection. Contact the responsible authority to schedule the date and time of collection. Thus you can avoid that large items remain in the street for a long period of time. You can also take them to the nearest drop-off site. 

What should I do with filament lamps? 

Conventional filament lamps can be disposed of together with unsorted waste. Low voltage lamps should be placed in drop-off sites or specific collection centres for WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment). 


May I use the plastic bags offered in supermarkets to collect unsorted waste or should I buy specific bags for this? What is more environmentally friendly? 

As a waste prevention measure, we shouldn't use plastic bags that are offered in supermarkets to carry our groceries, but use reusable bags or other containers, either made of plastic or tissue.
For the disposal of unsorted waste, you can buy appropriate bags (sold in supermarkets, available in different sizes) or you can use plastic bags you already have at home. These specific bags can accommodate more waste using less raw materials, as they are usually larger than those given in supermarkets.
Furthermore, the bags given in supermarkets sometimes have holes, which forces you to use more than one at the same time, contributing to an increase in waste production. 

Where can I obtain a domestic eco-container? 

LIPOR doesn't provide domestic eco-containers (unless within the scope of occasional environmental education programmes). You can buy domestic eco-containers, for instance, in supermarkets.

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