Cascais. Santa Marta Lighthouse and Municipal Museum

BLOG#4: Triggering climate transition via technology and behaviors

Cascais, triggering climate transition via a mix of technology and behaviors

Two of the major treasures of Cascais are its environment and its land, this is why this was the first Portuguese municipality to respond to the Paris Commitment for carbon neutrality by 2050 and one of the most innovative cities in Europe to fight climate change. We explain you how.

Cascais is a charming coastal town located on the western coast of Portugal, near the capital city, Lisbon. It is a popular tourist destination known for its picturesque beaches, historic architecture, and vibrant atmosphere.

The Portuguese town aims to sustain itself as a beacon for innovation and sustainable development as to inspire other cities and citizens to in investing innovative projects and initiatives, seeking to respond to environmental challenges and preservation of our planet. Through integrated action, intelligent resource management and a shared governance model, Cascais aims to fully achieve all its commitments in terms of climate resilience and carbon neutrality.

The Municipal Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 shows that the path to energy transition can be achieved by introducing new policies, technologies and adopting new behaviours.

Bike Sharing.

A noteworthy example in these ambitious goals refers to the mobility sector, namely the MobiCascais, which is an integrated sustainable mobility management system for Cascais, based on a platform that integrates various transport service operators and a network of infrastructures and equipment. Its aim is to offer a diverse and flexible set of mobility solutions and services that meet the needs of the municipality’s inhabitants, workers, entrepreneurs, and visitors.

Since its inception, MobiCascais has sought to promote the use of public transport and soft mobility solutions and has become a national and international example of an integrated, economical, efficient, and sustainable mobility system, offering a diverse and complete package of options for travelling within the municipality. This service provides residents and tourists with bicycles for bike sharing or leisure, free bus transportation, parking spaces and electric chargers.

Free Buses

Encouraging the production of renewable energy in the municipality and promoting the electrification of business sectors will be two of the key measures for achieving the 2050 decarbonization target.

Photovoltaic Panels Installed on the Roof of NOVA SBE in Carcavelos

First Inclusive Energy Community – Bicesse Kindergarten

In the area of forests and other land uses, the municipality intends to encourage carbon sequestration through active forest management, promoting the valorisation of the territory, making it possible to more than double its sink capacity. Through a noteworthy example the Oxigénio project aims to promote and defend nature and biodiversity in the municipality of Cascais, carried out through volunteer actions to plant native species and uproot exotic species. This programme aims to involve the community in nature conservation actions; raise awareness of natural values and the role of society in their preservation; bring citizens closer to the paradigm of conservation and preservation of ecosystems; promote active citizenship, valuing environmental awareness and empowering volunteers as agents of change.

Volunteer Action

Plantation Action

Reducing waste production is also a key sector of achieving carbon neutrality and, as such, the Smart Waste Management System implemented in the municipality of Cascais that combines the use of underground waste containers with a technology of remote fill-level sensors.

Underground Rubbish Bins.

While underground waste containers reduce visual impacts and maximize the use of urban space, remote fill-level sensors installed in these containers enable to trigger and manage a smart collection when these are nearly full. The sensors read the level of waste in each bin and transmit the data to a central management platform, which then allows to determine when and how the collection vehicles should start their route. This management platform can be accessed remotely in any web browser. Installing underground waste containers and equipping them with remote fill-level sensors resulted in cost reductions for municipal waste services of Cascais, while simultaneously improving the services.

Reducing the impact of solid waste on the environment is through residential food waste collection, which aims to divert food waste from landfill and incineration and turn it into compost and energy at the waste treatment plant of Tratolixo, the company responsible for the public service of handling the municipal waste produced. Citizens are given a kitchen bucket and rolls of green bags to collect everyday food waste from their homes. All participants have to do is close the green bag with the food waste and put it in the separate rubbish bins located on the street – any day or time.

Waste Collection Vehicles

Cascais Ambiente, the company responsible for collecting solid urban waste, collects the unsorted waste and the green bags together and deposits them at Tratolixo’s facilities. There, the green bags are separated from the rest of the waste and sent for composting and energy production.

Collection of Biowaste in Green Bags

Kitchen Bucket and Rolls of Green Bags

To encourage recycling and reuse of materials a network of ecocentres has been set up in Cascais which allows the collection of electric cables; small household appliances; batteries; toners and ink cartridges; light bulbs; spray cans; crockery, mirrors and glass; cassettes, DVDs and CDs; paint cans; books and magazines; corks and lids and coffee capsules, making an important contribution to the implementation of the circular economy and sustainability policies at local level.

Ecocentre in Cascais

Boosting circular economy is fundamental to achieve carbon neutrality. To meet this goal, Cascais joined Climaborough where waste is the key to the carbon neutrality strategy, and which aims to create new recycling flows including textiles.

Through it, Cascais has launched a call for startups interested in developing socio-technical systems that blend software (like apps) and hardware (including IoT sensors) to encourage sustainable consumption, enhance household waste sorting, and ultimately improve the quality of waste collection and the efficiency of selective waste disposal methods.


Barbara Coelho (EMAC Cascais Ambiente)