In our daily lives, we produce material which we have to dispose of because it has lost its value or utility.
When such waste has certain hazardous characteristics, it must be subjected to additional control in order to avoid any health or environmental damage during its production and management. Hazardous waste producers are obliged to store it under proper health and safety conditions for a maximum of six months following its storage.
Moreover, they are not allowed to mix or dilute hazardous waste with other materials, substances or waste having the same characteristics.
As for waste containment, it must be carried out so as to avoid any content loss, and the container must be built with materials that remain intact upon contact and are resistant enough to prevent any leakage during handling. Toxic waste containers must be labeled in a clear, legible and indelible manner, in at least one official state language.
In the European context, where waste production is steadily increasing and economic activities associated with waste are becoming more and more important, the European Parliament and Council Directive 2008/98/EC on waste (November 19, 2008) establishes the EU legal framework for waste management, providing the necessary tools to disentangle the relationship between economic growth and waste production; it places particular emphasis on prevention, understood as a set of measures adopted before a given product becomes waste, in order to reduce the quantity and content of hazardous substances as well as their harmful impact on human health and the environment.
The transposition of this Directive into national law was formalized by Law 22/2011 on waste and contaminated soil (July 28, 2011), which incorporates the principle of hierarchy in waste management and production, establishing the order of priority in waste policy interventions:
Preparation for reuse
Other kinds of recovery, including energy recovery
To ensure compliance with the provisions set out in Law 22/2011, the Board of Directors has included in EDP Spain’s Thermal Power Plants' “Integrated Environmental Permits” the obligation to “adopt appropriate measures to foster prevention in waste production, or, where appropriate, for the management of waste produced by the facility to be carried out according to the following order of priority: prevention, preparation for reuse, recycling and other kinds of recovery, including energy recovery, and, as a last resort, if the above are not feasible for any technical or economic reasons, waste disposal in such a way as to avoid or minimize its impact on the environment.”