Pay as you throw: technology boosts recycling in Portugal


Pay as you throw

Everyone knows recycling is important. But old habits die hard. Now, in the Portuguese city of Maia, a comprehensive waste collection service is putting them to rest. By offering door-to-door collection and electronically tracking rubbish and recycling citywide, the scheme has already increased recycling by 33%. The so-called 'pay as you throw' (PAYT) system rewards people and business who separate rubbish and penalises those who don't.



The whole community benefits from the improvements in waste collection. Ecoponto em Casa throws a spotlight on Maia as a model to inspire the rest of the country:

  • Better health and safety standards because streets are cleaner.
  • A fair system because people pay according to the amount of waste they generate and how they separate it.
  • More jobs in the recycling sector.
  • Less non-recyclable waste, so fewer collections – saving on fuel and labour costs.
Programme name
European Structural and Investment Funds
EC’s priorities
Energy Union and Climate
City of Maia, Portugal
EU Budget contribution to the project
EUR 1 537 121
Project location
2007 to 2013
Project webpage

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