Logo Sociedade Ponto Verde

1. What happens to the used packaging taken to recycling drop-off containers and other selective collection points?
Once it is collected, the local authority takes used packaging to a sorting plant, where it is separated into more specific types. For example, metals are separated into ferrous (steel) and non-ferrous (aluminium) and plastics into PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, EPS and mixed plastics. Sorting means that waste is sufficiently uniform and of the right quality for recycling. The waste packaging is then baled according to material type and routed via Sociedade Ponto Verde to companies that can recycle it.

2. What is recycled packaging turned into?
Recycling used packaging involves reprocessing and incorporating the packing material into new items, in a virtually endless loop. Thanks to recycling, the packing materials are recovered (otherwise they would have a much shorter lifecycle) and give rise to all kinds of items we use every day: transport palettes, cladding and boards for building and DIY, clothing, wadding fibres for cushions, metal ingots, parts for everyday domestic appliances (such as water heaters and stoves), new bottles and jars, new packaging, books, newspapers, writing paper, smooth or corrugated cardboard, toilet paper, garden furniture, flowerpots, drainage pipes, fibreboard for furniture and much more.

3. How can I get involved?
For everyone, active involvement in recycling starts at home by separating used packaging according to type of material: plastic, metal, paper and cardboard, glass and wood. Then, the packaging should be dropped into whatever facilities are provided by the local authority. In Portugal, different kinds of facilities have gradually been introduced to help consumers with selective collection, such as recycling drop-off containers, drop-off centres and baskets or bags specifically for door-to-door collection. Today, over 99% of the country benefits from selective collection, and 69% of homes regularly separate waste.

4. What are the advantages of recycling?
Recycling used packaging has several environmental and economic advantages:
- it reduces the amount of solid household waste going to landfills, so extending their useful life;
- it saves raw materials and preserves natural resources;
- it saves energy.

5. How should I separate my used packaging?
The first step in recycling used packaging is to separate it by material (metal and plastic, paper and cardboard, glass and wood). To separate it correctly, follow the instructions provided by your local authority, or see the disposal hints for different materials and the additional information provided here.

6. How can I make it easier for myself?
Use two waste bins for your household waste: one for organic waste (food waste) and another for plastic and metal packaging. Because glass packaging takes up more space, you might want to store that in another part of the house, for example a balcony, larder or storeroom. Used paper and cardboard can be kept in any room, in a cardboard box, for example, because it does not give off smells. Paper and cardboard packaging should be flattened to reduce its volume, which means you can store more at home and reduce the number of trips you make to recycling containers.
Whenever possible, rinse out the contents of packaging and flatten it so that it takes up less space. Wooden packaging should also be separated, although it will only be accepted by drop-off centres.

7. Who collects the waste I drop off in the recycling containers?
Individual local authorities, local authorities working in unison or private concession-holding companies are responsible for siting selective collection facilities – recycling drop-off containers, recycling centres or bags and baskets for door-to-door collection. If you want to know who is responsible for collection in your local area, see the map or contact your local authority.

8. Does Sociedade Ponto Verde (SPV) recycle everything that is collected by local authorities? Including batteries, tyres and used oil?
SPV only collects and re-routes waste packaging for recycling. For any other waste you should contact your local authority to find out where it should be sent.

9. What is the Green Dot System?
The Green Dot System, also known as SIGRE, is the Integrated Packaging Waste Management System.
It was created to organize and manage a circuit involving the collection, recovery and recycling of non-reusable waste packaging, and to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. The system succeeds by combining the responsibilities of various partners in order to establish a loop whose sustainability potential is virtually endless, in which everyone has a vital role to play.

10. What does the Green Dot Symbol mean?
Packaging bearing the Green Dot Symbol finances a nation-wide system of selective collection, recovery and recycling of used waste. Only companies that are Sociedade Ponto Verde partners can use the symbol on packaging they place on the market. For other symbols and icons used on packaging click here.

11. What is SPV and what are its aims?
Sociedade Ponto Verde is a private not-for-profit body established in order to satisfy Portuguese law governing the country’s management of waste and waste packaging. It is responsible for organizing and managing the collection, recovery and recycling loop for non-reusable waste packaging. Find out about our recycling targets here.

12. What services are provided by Sociedade Ponto Verde, in a nutshell?
- we fund municipal councils’ waste collection and maintenance of recycling drop-off containers;
- we guarantee the recycling of separated waste by selling used packaging (paper/cardboard, glass, plastic, wood, steel and aluminium) to recyclers;
- we oversee the routing of packaging to the most appropriate end use: recycling or energy production;
- we provide environmental education and awareness-raising for consumers via media campaigns;
- we support research programmes fostering the development of the market for recycled products and materials.