LIFE PAYT - PAYT - Tool to Reduce Waste in South Europe

LIFE15 ENV/PT/000609

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Contact details:

Contact person: Celia Ferreira
Tel: 351939303952
Email: celia@esac.pt

Project description:


Municipal waste management practices are failing to achieve high recycling rates in several southern European countries, making it difficult to achieve EU targets. The Waste Framework Directive requires Member States to increase the re-use and recycling of waste materials, such as paper, metal, plastic and glass from households, to a minimum of 50% overall by weight by 2020. Recycling rates of these waste streams in Greece, Cyprus and Portugal are currently around 20%, well below the target and the current European average (35%). One cause of this is inefficiency in the selective collection of materials: less than 15% of all lightweight packaging is presently recovered and valorised, while the remainder is sent unsorted to Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) and to landfill. The overall low rates of segregation at source and recycling mean higher treatment costs at MBT facilities and an inefficient use of resources. Since citizens and commerce actively engaged in source-segregation and recycling pay the same fee as those who do not sort or recycle, they do not feel rewarded and this can weaken their commitment.


The LIFE PAYT project will implement an integrated, cost-efficient and highly replicable PAYT (pay-as-you-throw) system in five southern EU municipalities: Lisbon, Condeixa and Aveiro (Portugal), Vrilissia (Greece) and Larnaka (Cyprus). LIFE PAYT has four main objectives: reduce residual waste from household and commerce; increase recycling rates for packaging materials; demonstrate changes in local decision-making that contribute to the implementation of EU environmental strategies and targets; and promote the replication of the concept in other southern European municipalities. To achieve these aims, the project will use strategies to link waste producers with the amount of waste they discard. For instance, the project will modernise and optimise residual waste collection by introducing software and hardware tools (RFID, ID cards, monitoring collection), and design fair and equitable waste tariffs. LIFE PAYT will use a participatory approach to maximise municipal stakeholders’ involvement and raise awareness – e.g. by creating specific training courses for decision makers. The project’s development support tools will boost transferability, with the involvement of stakeholders from Bulgaria, Croatia, Malta, Romania and Spain. The project will contribute to achieving the household waste management objectives of the Waste Framework Directive and the reduction of biodegradable waste going to landfills (with subsequent greenhouse gas emission reductions), as outlined by the Landfill of Waste Directive.

Expected results:

  • Establishment of a PAYT system that works as a cost-effective model (under €50 per tonne for residual waste collection) to ensure economic and environmental sustainability of municipalities in Greece, Portugal and Cyprus;
  • Reduction of household’s residual waste in at least 30% and up to 40% at the target sites;
  • Increased recycling rates for packaging waste (glass, paper, plastic and metal) to 15-30% at the demonstration sites (currently 6.3-21%);
  • Increased home composting: 10% of all detached houses take up home composting, with 200 kg per year of household bio-waste diverted from landfill;
  • Modernised and optimised residual waste collection with an expected reduction in CO2-eq emissions through direct reduction in fossil fuel consumption (10-15% of present carbon footprint in target municipalities);
  • Increased awareness through a citizens’ portal, providing economic and environmental information to both decision-makers and the general public;
  • Increased commitment of the research and technical communities: a web portal will provide scientists and municipalities with insights about current status at the demonstration sites, and tools will be freely available (as open source software) to be used by other municipalities;
  • Evaluation of the project’s environmental, social and economic impact over its lifetime: around 13 500 tonnes of waste reduction at the demonstration sites when project ends and over 360 000 tonnes/year at the replicability sites five years after; and
  • Development of a framework of guidelines and specifications for PAYT implementation targeting local authorities, and the establishment of a dedicated PAYT network.



Environmental issues addressed:


Information - Governance - Environmental training - Capacity building
Information - Governance - Awareness raising - Information
Waste - Municipal waste (including household and commercial)


waste collection‚  municipal waste‚  landfill

Target EU Legislation

  • Waste
  • Directive 1999/31 - Landfill of waste (26.04.1999)
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.200 ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Instituto Politecnico de Coimbra
Type of organisation Research institution
Description IPC is a polytechnic institute located in the Centro region of Portugal. It brings together six schools and institutes related to specific areas of education and research: agriculture, engineering, health, business, education, applied social science and fine arts, and management and technology.
Partners Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal Larnaka Municipality, Cyprus Câmara Municipal de Aveiro, Portugal Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Portugal Câmara Municipal de Condeixa-a-Nova, Portugal Municipality of Vrilissia, Greece National Technical University of Athens, Greece


Project reference LIFE15 ENV/PT/000609
Duration 01-SEP-2016 to 31-DEC -2019
Total budget 2,517,571.00 €
EU contribution 1,351,945.00 €
Project location Norte(Portugal) Centro(Portugal) Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal) Alentejo(Portugal) Algarve(Portugal) Açores(Portugal) Madeira(Portugal)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version