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Decree Law No. 73/2011

Publication: Republic Diary No. 116/2011, Series I of 2011-06-17
  • Issuer: Ministry of the Environment and Regional Planning
  • Diploma Type: Decree Law
  • Number: 73/2011
  • Pages: 3251 - 3300

Summary in plain english

What is it?

This decree-law introduces into the Portuguese law the European Directive 2008/98/EC about waste prevention, production and management.

What will change?
New goals for waste management

With the aim of promoting re-use, recycling and other forms of waste recovery, it is intended that by 2020:

  • 50% of urban waste (paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, etc.) will be re-used and recycled
  • 70% of waste will be re-used, recycled or recovered in any other way.
  • whenever technically possible, 5% of the raw materials used in public construction must be recycled materials.

By 31 December 2011, producers of new oil must ensure that:

  • at least 75% of the used oils collected are recycled
  • at least 50% of the used oils collected are regenerated (clean).
Waste prevention programmes

By 12 December 2012, the Portuguese government must create waste prevention programmes to reduce waste production.

These programmes are subject to public consultation and, once approved, they’re published on the National Environmental Agency (APA) webpage.

Special conditions for specific types of waste

The priorities in waste management are the reduction, re-use and recycling of waste. Waste disposal or destruction must only be considered as a last resort. However, management of certain types of waste (packaging, used oils, used tyres, batteries, electronic equipment, etc.) does not have to follow this order of priority as long as it is justifiable and takes into consideration the impact on the environment and human health.

Broadening the waste market

The following can now be bought and sold on the waste market:

  • recycled material
  • hazardous waste
  • by-products.

By-products are substances or objects resulting from a production process where the main goal was not their production (for instance, sawdust is a by-product of furniture production and straw is a by-product of cereal harvesting).

Some substances and products will no longer be considered waste

A by-product is not considered as waste if the following conditions are met:

  • it has further use, with no negative effect on the environment or human health
  • it can be used directly, without any further processing
  • its production is an integral part of the production process.

Certain waste, after being treated or recycled, will no longer be considered waste if:

  • someone is interested in acquiring it
  • it can be used for specific purposes, with no negative effect on the environment or human health.
Licensing of waste management activities

Licensing is no longer needed for certain activities connected with waste management, for instance:

  • treatment of wood, cork, fibers that result from the production of paper pulp, vegetable waste from green spaces, etc.
  • storing waste in the same place it was produced before it is sent to a waste treatment facility.

The activities that can be licensed in 30 days, through a simplified licensing procedure, are now subject to an inspection which is carried out within six-months of the license being issued.

The licensing procedures are available on the APA website.

Electronic permit to transport waste

Waste transportation can only be done with an electronic permit for carrying waste (e-GAR), available on the APA website. This permit replaces the paper document.

Record of waste and products placed on the market

It is now mandatory to register on the APA’s Integrated Registration System (SIRAPA), available on the APA webpage:

  • information about waste production and management
  • information about products placed on the market that, at the end of their lifecycle, become waste with specific management rules

The entities registered on SIRAPA must supply information:

  • annually, by 31 March of the following year, regarding waste and products placed on the market
  • monthly, by the end of the following month, regarding urban waste management systems.
What are its benefits?

This decree-law is intended to:

  • further prevent the production of waste and encourage re-use and recycling
  • promote the opportunities available on the new waste market
  • simplify the licensing process for waste management companies
  • protect natural resources and human health
When does it come into effect?

This decree-law comes into effect the day after being published.

Original Version


  • Legal translator is the translation of texts within the field of law


Legislative consolidation integrates the various amendments and rectifications made into an original legal diploma in order to make its consultation more accessible to the citizen.