At present, the context created by the Covid-19 pandemic determines new realities and has generated new challenges for waste collection and recovery. This is the case of community and disposable masks, with exponential growth and a strong impact on ecosystems, particularly in marine waters.
In 2021, during the European Week for Waste Reduction, a new project started in Guimarães whose motto was “Collect and Valorise”, in this case specifically a campaign for awareness-raising, collection and valorisation of masks.
Following, once again, the governance model implemented in Guimarães, a team comprising Guimarães Municipality, the Laboratório da Paisagem, VITRUS and the Estrutura de Missão Guimarães 2030 was formed, focused on the collection of the masks in schools, and their subsequent valorisation.
Laboratório da Paisagem, leader of the project “Aqualastic – Educate, Reduce and Enhance”, developed a container for this waste, from mixed recycled plastics, distributing them in several schools in the municipality.
This project includes several partners, namely the TO BE-GREEN company and the CVR – Centre for the Valorisation of Residues which, from the collected masks, created products, later distributed by the students.
The collection and recovery of masks is part of Guimarães strategy for the Circular Economy, of national and international recognition for its efficient management of resources, calling for the involvement of citizens and the private sector.