Ecopontos overflow
Photo: TSF/Bruno Castanheira/Global Imagens (archive)

Overflowing ecopontos are “terrible image for the Algarve.”

Municipalities criticise the company that collects recyclable waste from Ecopontos as containers increasingly overflow.

According to TSF, the complaint was made by the Silves City Council. However, the feeling is shared by most of the Algarve’s Municipalities. In a statement, the municipality of Silves considered that ALGAR, the company responsible for collecting recyclable waste in the region, “has not been able to collect the recycling bins that fill up daily”. A situation that, in the opinion of the municipality, gives rise to “undesirable and vehemently reprehensible situations” throughout the territory.

The situation worsens in the summer and is confirmed by the president of the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve (AMAL). “It is a problem in this summer period when, in some territories, waste production triples, quadruples or quintuples, and ends up on the street to be collected, which is a bad image for the Algarve”, says António Miguel Pina.

The chairman of AMAL guarantees that “this undue collection by ALGAR” is already being felt at other times of the year.

ALGAR’s share capital, which also manages landfills in the region, is 56% owned by the Empresa Geral de Fomento (EGF), part of the Mota-Engil Group, and 44% by the municipalities of the Algarve. The municipal councils are in the minority but guarantee they have tried to buy share capital from the private entity, although without success.

To prevent recyclable containers in public spaces from overflowing, the municipalities of the Algarve intend to propose to the company’s assembly that, for the future, responsibilities be shared. “There is already a group working for some municipalities preparing a proposal to be sent to ALGAR so that next year, we, the municipalities, collect recyclable waste.”

In a written response to TSF and in its defence, ALGAR clarifies that “the ecopontos, in addition to the increase seen at this time of the year, as it is a period of greater tourism in the Algarve, are also the target of excessive deposits of commercial material”.

The company claims it has a public and free service for commercial establishments, the Algarlinha service, but many still do not use it. If they did, guarantees the entity, the amount placed in the ecopontos would be reduced.

Although it does not refute the accusations of the mayors, ALGAR also claims that there is a lack of employees in the region, namely drivers, to join the teams during the high season.

The company also argues that there is often abusive parking next to ecopontos, which sometimes makes access and timely collection of containers difficult or even unfeasible.

ALGAR has the concession of the ecopontos for recyclable materials and the management of landfills in the Algarve region until 2034.