In 2020, Portugal did not reach any target set out in the Strategic Plan for Urban Waste (PERSU 2020), says the annual report on urban waste for the past year, released by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA). In 2020, the document indicates, the Portuguese produced more waste, this waste went to landfill, and it did not even come close to the recycling targets.
By stating that none of the goals were achieved, APA emphasizes that failure to meet the goals, “in particular the goal of preparing for reuse and recycling, imposes on Portugal an even greater effort to reach the new and ambitious goals defined by the European Commission in the new Waste Framework Directive (WFD) recently transposed into national legislation”.
The Strategic Plan for Urban Waste (PERSU) 2020 sets objectives, namely the disposal of waste in landfills, preparation for reuse and recycling of urban waste, recycling of packaging and reduction of plastic. In the report, published on the official website of the APA, it is recalled that last year was atypical, due to the covid-19 pandemic. But the production of urban waste was 5.2 million tons, a figure identical to that of 2019, so the pandemic had no impact.
Last year, of the total waste in mainland Portugal, 41% went to landfill, 21% for mechanical and biological treatment, 19% for energy recovery, 12% for material recovery, 05% for mechanical treatment and 02% for organic recovery. Direct forwarding to landfill represented 33% in 2019, so last year there was no increase of 08%.
Other numbers in the report indicate that, last year and on the continent, each Portuguese produced 512 kilos of waste, a value above the European average, which corresponds to 1.4 kilos per day (the same value if you add production in the regions autonomous). The available targets for 2020 were 410 kilos per year/inhabitant.
In the national goal of depositing biodegradable urban waste in landfill, there is a reduction to 35% compared to 1995 figures. This was equivalent to depositing in landfill a maximum of 788,452 tons, but 1,187,426 tons were deposited. In the target of preparing for reuse and recycling of urban waste, according to a European directive, in 2020 there would have to be a 50% recycling rate (including paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal, wood and biodegradable municipal waste) but was only 38%. And in the selective selection retakes, the goal was not reached either.
PERSU 2020 also meets targets for urban waste management systems, with some systems in these systems meeting some of the targets. But according to the APA report if the first taken into account the general data joining the various systems, no goal was reached. The APA speaks of contingencies related to a covid-19 pandemic, which led to low rates of selective rejection and a lot of recyclable material in the undifferentiated indication, says that a strong awareness of citizens is needed to receive selective biowaste, and warns that “the most of the quantities of recyclable fractions are still in the undifferentiated reward”.
“The potential for recycling material collected through selective is much higher than that obtained through undifferentiated, and only by increasing the increase can the country meet targets and evolve towards a circular economy. Not only is there a need to reinforce awareness campaigns among the populations, but the form of communication with members must eventually be reconsidered”, says the APA in the report.
Among other suggestions, the APA defends that they increase as economic-financial penalties related to the “referral of waste to the less noble options in the waste hierarchy”.