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Ponta Delgada ,  July 16, 2018

Marta Guerreiro says the Region recycled "more than half" of urban waste produced in 2017

The Regional Secretary for Energy, Environment and Tourism stated today that there was an "increase in material and organic recovery as well as in energy recovery" in 2017, adding that the Azores are now recovering "more than half of urban waste produced," corresponding to 51 %.
Marta Guerreiro spoke at the opening of the Automated Sorting Centre on the island of São Miguel. On the occasion, she stressed that these figures have the year 2017 a "landmark for urban waste," recalling that, in 2012, "87% of urban waste was disposed in landfills or dumps."
"Also last year, material (recycling) and organic (composting) recovery reached the highest volume ever (48.6 thousand tonnes), registering an increase of 15%, that is, 6.3 more tonnes compared to 2016," added the government official.
The Secretary for the Environment mentioned that, last year, "a third of the Azores Islands" reached the "zero landfill" goal. In this regard, she noted that the island of Flores, for the second year, and Corvo and Santa Maria, for the first time, "have recovered all urban waste," of which 85%, 84% and 82%, respectively, were referred for material and organic recovery. In turn, the remaining 15%, 16% and 18%, respectively, were referred for energy recovery,
"The profound change that the Government and Azorean municipalities have been undertaking in the waste management structure on all islands demonstrates a transforming ambition that puts the Region at the forefront in the national context," said Marta Guerreiro.
The Regional Secretary assured that this new paradigm "boost the dynamics of an important economic sector," representing a "new way of looking at the development and economy."
"For example, municipal waste management structures now employ 255 workers and more than half, 131, work on the seven least populated islands. In 2017, they generated a turnover of 10.5 million Euros," stressed the government official.
Marta Guerreiro pointed out that "almost all products disposed as waste can reborn for a second life," stressing that "the best waste is one that is not produced."
In this context, she recalled that prevention for the reduction of waste production "must be at the forefront of public policies."
The Regional Secretary pointed out "the measures established in the legal document aimed at reducing the consumption of plastic bags in the Azores." Although this is the first full year of application of the measures to all retail trade, established in 2016 and 2017, they have contributed to "the reduction of 79.1 million plastic bags in the Azores, thus removing 515 tonnes of plastic from consumption in those two years."
"The data evidence the success of the measures insofar as they have promoted a substantial change in the habits of Azorean consumers by replacing disposable plastic bags with alternative and reusable means of transporting purchases," stressed the government official.
However, Marta Guerreiro stated that the problem of plastics is not limited to shopping bags, noting that "there are numerous products and plastic packaging for everyday use, many of which are disposable. This situation should challenge us about the need to move forward with measures aimed at reducing the consumption of certain packaging and products."
In her speech, she also stated that the "process concerning the first interim evaluation of PEPGRA - Strategic Plan for Waste Management of the Azores is underway. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the strategic options for waste policy and repositioning of the Azores in face of emerging challenges."


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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