FAQ - Eco-container

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Where do the materials I sort and place in eco-containers go to? Is it true that the materials put in eco-containers are all mixed up inside the collection vehicle?  

A very common question among citizens is if materials are mixed up after being sorted by them. People often have the misconception that paper/cardboard and packaging are mixed up inside the collection vehicle. There's also the misconception that recyclable materials are mixed up with unsorted waste. The following explanation will hopefully demystify these false ideas:
The recyclable materials disposed of in eco-containers, which are placed near public roads, are collected by proper vehicles (usually, with a crane), which are not prepared for the collection of unsorted waste (placed in the conventional 4 wheel green containers for unsorted waste; this is collected by vehicles with tilt devices and compaction systems).
In case of deep collection eco-containers (molok), materials are also collected by vehicles with cranes; in this case, the vehicles are similar to those used for the collection of deep collection containers for unsorted waste, but the similarities are limited to the type of vehicle.
All recyclable materials collected from public road eco-containers or moloks are transported to Lipor's Sorting Plant, by proper vehicles and through specific circuits, and no materials are mixed up (with the exception of materials mixed up by citizens due to lack of knowledge or carelessness);
All cargo that comes from eco-containers is inspected, according to the regulations of the Quality, Environmental and Safety Certification of the Sorting Plant.
The unsorted waste is sent to Lipor II (Energy Recovery Plant) and the reception process is similar to that of the Sorting Plant, because the Energy Recovery Plant also has a Quality, Environmental and Safety Certification.
With this process we ensure that recyclable materials from eco-containers are properly transported to the Sorting Plant without being mixed up with unsorted waste. For optimisation reasons, some vehicles collect 2 different types of recyclable materials (e.g. paper and packaging), however, the materials are placed in different compartments and discharged in different areas at the Sorting Plant.
Lastly, recyclable waste should always be placed inside the eco-containers (or collected through specific circuits, such as door-to-door circuits) and not near the containers, on the floor (often near containers for unsorted waste), as they may be collected as unsorted waste, because the type of vehicles used for the collection of recyclable waste (with cranes) don't allow the collection of waste placed outside the eco-containers.

Why shouldn't we place in eco-containers and drop-off sites other types of glass, besides glass bottles, demijohns and jars?

The glass used for packaging, which can be placed in eco-containers and drop-off sites, has a specific composition.
The glass collected will be used as cullet to produce new glass packaging, so it is necessary to ensure that no other types of glass are mixed up in the cullet used in the recycling process.
Glass crockery, crystal items, glasses, among other glass products we use daily have chemical compositions which are different from that of glass bottles, so they cannot be placed in the selective collection containers (eco-containers and drop-off sites).

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 is the difference between eco-containers and drop-off sites? 

An eco-container is a set of three containers for the selective collection of used packaging: a yellow container (for plastic and metal packages), a blue one (for paper and cardboard, newspapers, magazines and writing paper) and a green one (for glass packaging). This set can also include a small red container for batteries.
A drop-off site is a large park where used packaging and other types of waste are collected, such as wood, slag from construction and demolition works, household appliances, furniture, mineral and vegetable oils, car batteries, etc. However, not all drop-off sites are prepared to receive the same types of waste, so check what can be delivered where.
And don't forget: eco-containers are not the only way of sorting for recycling purposes!

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