Waste production is inherently associated with human activity, so an adequate management of its streams is strategic for implementing a new paradigm of growth capable of respecting the limits of the planet. The closing of the material’s cycle and the transition to a circular economy model can only be possible with policy instruments that include, in an integrated manner and in the long term, not only the minimisation of the production of the several waste components, but also their adequate management.

Within this context, the recycling of materials has gained relevance, and specific streams have been created for the management of waste such as packaging, oils, tyres, electrical and electronic equipment, end-of-life vehicles and construction and demolition materials, among others.

Due to its specificity, the management of radioactive waste is governed by a policy which ensures a high level of safety in the protection of the general public and the environment against the risks posed by ionizing radiation, while minimizing unnecessary burdens for future generations.

The production of hazardous waste occurs mainly in the industrial sector, but also in the health sector, in agriculture, in commerce, in services and even in the household sector. The hazards associated with these wastes, both for human health and the environment, require careful attention to their management in order to prevent/reduce the occurrence of adverse effects.

Given the specialisation in the treatment of specific waste streams, these are sometimes transferred between countries to undergo appropriate recovery or disposal operations. These transfers are subject, within the EU, to the provisions of the EU Regulation on the Transboundary Movement of Waste.

As total or partial, physical and/or financial responsibility for the environmental impacts associated with its products, namely the waste generated, has been attributed to the producer, he is obliged to pay a fee, called “ecovalor”, to waste management entities. Part of that amount is invested in awareness and communication actions directed at stakeholders, as well as in research and development projects.