Involvement of businesses, the main waste producers in heritage areas, to establish dedicated door-to-door waste collection services
The large amounts of waste produced by the businesses in heritage areas strongly affects the waste management systems in these areas, causing a negative impact, because of two main factors:
- Need for a higher number of street bins to receive all the waste produced
- Overload of the street bins and need to empty them more frequently
To overcome these issues, both Porto and Cordoba developed dedicated door-to-door collection services for the businesses. In Cordoba, voluntary agreements were made with the main producers of waste in the area, particularly restaurants and hotels, who commit to keep their own containers, and those required by close neighbours, on their premises until the door-to-door waste collection takes place. In Porto, the businesses were given three different colourful plastic bags to separate packaging waste (paper&cardboard, plastic&metal and glass) and a small bin for food waste. The businesses voluntarily agreed to not use the street bins and maintain these bags and small bins in their premises until the door-to-door collection takes place.
With these dedicated systems, Cordoba managed to eliminate several street bins in the heritage area. Porto also eliminated some problematic street bins but, mostly, stopped the overload problem, minimized the emptying frequency and eliminated problems due to waste left around the bins. It also promoted the packaging waste separation and created the possibility to separate food waste, which were not available before

Resources needed

The implementation of the dedicated door-to-door waste collection systems required the involvement and direct contact with each business owner and staff, in order to get their collaboration, by emphasising the system advantages, and explaining the functioning rules.

Evidence of success

With this system, Cordoba reaches to 12 main waste producers and 5% of the residents in the historic town centre (1500 inhabitants). Cordoba were able to elimination 78 1000L containers from public streets.
In the most relevant area of Porto heritage centre, the system as a coverage of 100%, corresponding to approximately 100 commercial premises served. The amounts of waste recovered yearly in this area are 250 tonnes of paper&cardboard, plastic&metal and glass and 300 tonnes of food waste.

Difficulties encountered

For Cordoba, one of the challenges is the difficulty in maintaining the number of extra containers for local residents over time.
Porto and Cordoba, both have difficulties related with the lack of space in the commercial premises to store waste and the bins until collection.

Potential for learning or transfer

The general concept of having a dedicated door-to-door collection system for the main waste producers in the heritage areas proved to be an effective solution to address the problems caused by the large amounts of waste produced by businesses in these areas. Furthermore, the establishment of agreements with these producers and their collaboration can be a valuable tool to tackle other related issues and develop an integrated solution, like is made in Cordoba with the integration of the local residents in the system by taking advantage of the collaboration with the businesses.
Although each heritage area has its own particular characteristics, it’s possible to implement this concept by adapting the system to the local reality, as it was made in Porto and Cordoba – two systems with different specificities adapted to different realities and needs, both based on the same general concept.

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Main institution
Porto Ambiente - Empresa Municipal de Ambiente do Porto, EM
Norte, Portugal
Start Date
January 2015
End Date


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