In March 2020, a multi-stakeholder pilot project for a nation-wide deposit-return scheme was launched in Portugal with the support and backing of the Portuguese food and drink industry.
Since its launch, returns have amounted to 12 million bottles, according to the data released by the Portuguese Ministry of Environment and Climate Action.
The project – Quando Do Velho Se Faz Novo, Ganha O Planeta! – has returned over 350 tons of recyclable PET, allowing for incorporations into new beverage bottles, with an average of 39,000 packages being deposited per day.
For packaging deposited in each of the 23 automatic machines installed in large commercial areas in mainland Portugal, the consumer receives a discount coupon on purchases or with a value to be used as a donation to social support institutions.
In total, €510,000 worth of receipts were issued, with consumers allocating €10,000 to charitable causes. By 15 September 2021, the pilot project will donate deposits to 23 charities, as selected online by consumers.
Financed 100% by the Environmental Fund of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Action, to the tune of €1.7bn, the pilot project paves the way for future deposit systems for packaging of plastic, glass, ferrous metals and aluminium on the Portuguese market.