WASTE - Treatment and management of green residua by a process of composting

LIFE99 ENV/P/000658

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Luis Alberto CORREIA MONTEIRO
Tel: 351255710700
Fax: +351(02055/711066
Email: penafiel@cm-penafial.pt

Project description:


About 25,000 tons of waste was being produced annually in the district of Penafiel. Approximately 20% of this was organic waste, from garden and cemetery maintenance collections, which was being deposited at the dump. The project set out to take advantage of the biological cycle in order to transform this waste material into compost and to use it as manure for agricultural applications. This would reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, helping to avoid the adverse effects on ecosystems. Until the project was launched, the natural cycle had been interrupted, as the waste was simply being deposited at the dump.


This project set out to optimise the composting process through the regulation of variables like temperature, the C/N ratio and the degree of shredding of the material, in such a way that it would be possible to deal with 20 tons of waste cuttings’ daily. The project's objectives were: - To reduce the amount of waste deposited in the district dump. - To produce natural compost that could be used in the district’s public spaces and in agricultural fields, as a substitute for “traditional” chemical manure.


This project achieved its objectives and expected results. In addition to the reduction of the quantity of waste deposited in the landfill, the compost produced was of high quality. In quantitative terms, despite some variations from the initial proposal, it was envisaged that in the future it would be possible to deal with five tons of waste-cuttings daily - reducing the deposits in the dump by 1,825 tons per year. This would have the additional benefit of increasing the land-fill’s useful life. The initiative would also produce 608.33 tons of high-quality natural fertilizer, which could be used in the district’s public spaces and in forest plantations. The final product was (and is) being used in various municipal gardens. The agricultural sector has also recognised the product’s quality and has expressed interest in using it, particularly for vineyards. The significant difference between this and other composts is that the latter includes waste from urban areas, which is devalued by the presence of elements such as glass, cans, plastics, etc. These are absent from the project’s compost. It was felt that the support of the Commission in the implementation of selective waste-collection could provide encouragement for other Portuguese districts to follow suit and to put this type of initiative into practice. To summarise, this was a biotechnological process and therefore did not require the use of complex technologies. The results obtained will enable various local authorities to reduce their waste production by 20% in the short term, by implementing this composting process, using few and low-cost technical resources. In geographic terms, the application of the results may have to be altered according to the differences in climate or raw materials used in composting, but these changes will not be too significant. Due to the interest shown in the project results, in terms of socio-economic and environmental benefits, and also the absence of solutions in the Vale do Sousa region, concerning the treatment of this kind of waste, the beneficiary plans, in the future, to treat the vegetable residues from some neighbouring districts - Paredes, Castelo de Paiva, Felgueiras, Lousada and Paços de Ferreira – as well as from private institutions. This would be in addition to those derived from the collection of waste from its own gardens and cemeteries. For this reason, the beneficiary has drafted a technical and financial feasibility study to further promote the project according to the benefits achieved, the knowledge acquired and the existence of equipment and infrastructure.


Environmental issues addressed:


Waste - Municipal waste (including household and commercial)



Target EU Legislation

  • Waste
  • COM(1996)399 - Communication on an updated "Community strategy for waste management" (30.07.1996) ...
  • Directive 1999/31 - Landfill of waste (26.04.1999)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Câmara Municipal de Penafiel
Type of organisation Local authority
Description Câmara Municipal de Penafiel is one of the 308 Portuguese municipalities.
Partners COOPENAFIEL–Cooperativa Agrícola de Penafiel, CRL


Project reference LIFE99 ENV/P/000658
Duration 19-OCT-1999 to 19-OCT -2002
Total budget 637,150.73 €
EU contribution 241,281.64 €
Project location Norte(Portugal)


Read more:

Project web site Internet Site


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