energy can be a great ally for the environment. This is possible through the Vale Luz project, part of the Energy Efficiency program of Neoenergia distributors,regulated by the National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL). The initiative allows discounts on energy bills from the exchange of recyclable waste, such as paper, glass, plastic and electronic products. In 2021, more than 600 tons of items were collected and sent for recycling at the company's Northeast distributors, Neoenergia Coelba (BA), Neoenergia Pernambuco (PE) and Neoenergia Cosern (RN), generating discounts on the account that exceed R$ 156,000 reais this year alone.
Since the creation of Vale Luz, in 2008, more than 5 million tons of solid waste have been exchanged for discounts on the bill, benefiting 36 thousand customers in the three states. In this period, the total amount of the discounts granted is more than R$ 1.3 million reais. “The project is a good alternative to help the family budget and encourage the sustainable cycle in society. Besides reducing the energy bill, Vale Luz promotes the rational use of natural resources and minimizes the negative impacts caused by waste, stimulating recycling," says Neoenergia's Energy Efficiency manager, Ana Christina Mascarenhas.
At Neoenergia Coelba, where the project started in 2008, 3 million tons of items have been collected in the last 13 years, serving 23 thousand customers and generating discounts of R$ 737 thousand reais. At Neoenergia Pernambuco, which counts on Vale Luz since 2009, 1 million tons of waste received and almost 6 thousand customers benefited. The discounts in the bill reached R$350 thousand. At Neoenergia Cosern, the project has benefited 6,600 families from the state of Pernambuco with discounts that already exceed R$ 240 thousand. In total, more than 847 tons of recyclable solid residues have been collected in eight years.
The project has three modalities, serving residential, condominium, and business customers. Residential customers can register via the Vale Luz Cliente application (available for iOS and Android) or at existing collection points in the metropolitan region of each participating city. The project has fixed stations and operates in low-income communities with adapted tents and trucks that make periodic visits to collect the waste. The Vale Luz exchange points can be found on the app or on the websites of the concessionaires. Recyclable items must be delivered separated, clean, and dry. They will be weighed and a receipt will be issued with the total value of the collection, which will be automatically credited on the next energy bill.
For condominiums and companies, the Vale Luz Truck is responsible for collection. Locations interested in participating should access the distributor's site and fill out the registration form, available on the distributors' site, which should then be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. After evaluation, the concessionaire returns with further guidance. The discount is applied to the condominium's electricity bill and, in the case of companies, the reduction in amount benefits non-profit institutions chosen by them.
Materials such as cardboard, office paper, newspapers, PET bottles, plastic bags, packaging for cleaning products, buckets, plastic tables, soda cans, and containers for other food products are accepted, as well as electronic waste, such as television, cell phones, and keyboards, among others. Cooking oil can also be delivered, which must be filtered and in a transparent PET bottle.
Within the Vale Luz project there are Merrecas, a fictitious currency created by Neoenergia's distributors, which enables the exchange of aluminum cans and can be converted into discounts on the electricity bill or LED bulbs. The customer gets discounts starting at R$ 0.09 on the energy bill, by exchanging, for example, a 350 ml aluminum can for the project's currency. Small cans of up to 328 ml are worth 0.75 Merreca, medium-sized cans of 330 to 471 ml are worth 1 Merreca, and cans larger than 472 ml are worth 1.25 Merreca per unit. The value of Merreca varies monthly according to the price of aluminum in the recycling industry.