Recycling Differences

ByVitor Oliveira

Recycling Differences

Being working in an environmental project the past 9 months and now approaching to end of it got me comparing the waste management and recycling system between Portugal and Romania.

For what the colors go it is the same blue for paper and carton, yellow Plastic/Metal, green for glass and brown for organic waste/food leftovers. In Portugal in every recycling container spot there usually a small red one for the electronic such as batteries and here I didn’t saw a lot if any of those.

By the Paris agreement majority of EU countries set a 50% mark. This basically means that half of their trash should be recycled and both Portugal and Romania are not really following this.

Romania statistics say that only 14% of all the trash made is recycled while Portugal has 39% which is better but still not the goal that they’ve set for 2020 and asked to the EU for two extra years to achieve this goal which was denied.

While my EVS we had one truck passing every Friday for the non-recyclable trash and for the recyclable trash was passing every 2 weeks. Back in Portugal as far as I remember the truck for the non-recyclable passes twice a week while the recyclable passes once per week. In this field I think it isn’t that bad since I come from an average city with way more population than the village that I was living during my EVS.

I had the opportunity to visit both a landfill in Romania and in Portugal and I can see that there’s a big difference. In Romania I visited a landfill from Valeni de Munte and It was a big difference. In here they did almost all the things by hand without help of machinery which is probably one of the causes of the different percentage in recycling rate. While In Portugal there’s a big use of heavy machinery and probably a bigger budget going into this field and having machines helping is good since they can accelerate all the process and having more recyclable trash coming and therefore recycle more.

About the author

Vitor Oliveira

Hey I'm from Portugal and I'm 19 years old If you want to fin out more about me go and check my "Portret de Voluntar" at

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