An Overview of Portugal’s Waste Management Regulations Update

An Overview of Portugal’s Waste Management Regulations Update

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Summary

Portugal with its commitment to sustainability, recently took a significant step forward with the publication of Decree-Law No. 24/2024. This legislative update, an amendment to Decree-Law No. 152‑D/2017, commonly known as Unilex, announces transformative changes in the management of waste streams across the country. Below are the core amendments and how they impact stakeholders in Portugal’s waste management.

Managing Non-reusable Industrial Packaging:

With the revision of the Unilex, effective from January 1, 2025, producers of professional and industrial goods in Portugal are required to oversee the management of their non-reusable packaging waste through compliant schemes. This amendment addresses a critical gap in the existing framework, ensuring streamlined waste management practices while promoting environmental sustainability.

Expanding Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR):

The scope for extended producer responsibility will now include furniture, mattresses, and home health self-care products. Scheduled to be operational by December 31, 2025, this broadening highlights Portugal’s advanced approach to waste management, encouraging a circular economy mindset.

Reusable Packaging Reporting:

An update in the legislation is on the reporting of reusable packaging, with mandatory submissions now enforced annually. This requirement not only increases transparency but also fosters accountability among producers, driving efforts towards efficient resource utilization.

Reusable Packaging Labelling:

To ensure consistency and promote environmental responsibility, reusable packaging will be subject to specific labelling requirements determined by the Environment Agency. This labelling mandate is scheduled to be enforced within a year of publication of the labelling rules on the APA website. By adopting these guidelines, it enables consumers to make informed decisions.

Visible Fee and Registration Number Obligation:

Enhanced transparency through the clear display of management fees on invoices, particularly in transactions involving tyres. Furthermore, the inclusion of producer registration numbers across all waste streams enhances traceability and accountability throughout the supply chain.

Eco modulation:

The introduction of criteria for Eco modulation marks a significant step towards incentivizing environmentally responsible practices. These criteria will become effective on January 1, 2026. By differentiating financial benefits based on environmental impact and product characteristics, Portugal aims to reward sustainable initiatives and drive innovation in waste management strategies.

Conclusion:

Portugal’s legislative amendments highlight a focused effort towards advancing a more sustainable and responsible approach to waste management. By prioritizing extended producer responsibility, promoting transparency, and incentivizing eco-friendly practices, the country sets an example for effective environmental practices. As stakeholders adapt to these changes, the ambition is for a more resilient and resource-efficient future.

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