In the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) report on recycling for 2022, unsorted collection (common waste) represents 77% of the waste collected, while selective collection (recycling) represents only 21%.

The APA warns that, despite some improvements in selective collection, which has increased in the last decade, the rate of undifferentiated collection “remains high” and that “it is crucial to reverse” the situation.

According to data from the report, glass was the most recycled waste in 2022, representing around 55% of the collection, while the percentage of recycled plastic is just 22% and that of paper and cardboard is 47%.


The agency states that of the urban waste produced in Portugal, the majority - around 57% - is deposited in landfills and only 16% is sent for recycling.

The collection of unsorted waste represents around 80% of that collected in 2022, which is an indicator “that over the years has not shown signs of improvement”, despite the investments made for this purpose.

The APA also says that waste collected in an undifferentiated way has “huge potential” that is little used, as it is destined for landfill or energy recovery.

New goals

The executive director of Sociedade Ponto Verde, Ana Trigo Morais, argues that Portugal “has done a remarkable job with regard to packaging recycling” and the system “has been evolving”, but considers that “it is necessary to accelerate” because the country “has new goals to meet”.

“Motivating to generate even more action is essential. It is citizens who deposit their packaging at recycling points and, therefore, in addition to having a quality and convenient service available, it is necessary to invest in proximity and differentiating campaigns, teaching the positive impact that this gesture has on the planet”, argues.

According to the objectives defined by the European Union, member states must recycle around 65% of all packaging placed on the market by the end of 2025.