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Doing business in Italy: Environmental rules

08 March 2012
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 30 March 2012

National policies on environmental legislation aim to reduce pollution and promote sustainable energy. In Italy, businesses are held responsible for the environmental impact of their activities.


Legal requirements

Environmental legislation

Legislation - Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea 

Italy has adopted the EU's environment legislation by introducing the National inventory of emissions and their sources (INES) which groups together and publishes data on industrial emissions polluting air and water.

'National inventory of emissions and their sources' and the 'European Pollutant Emission Register'

Two decrees implemented the Community legislation concerning industrial waste products and the treatment of polluting substances such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Decree on industrial waste disposal

Decree on arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient air

Other decrees implemented EU legislation on the prevention of pollution and the control and reduction of dangerous substances in electrical and electronic equipment and waste disposal.

Decree on integrated pollution prevention and control

Decree restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment

Environmental control

The national strategy for sustainable development determines the main objectives and actions for the four priority areas in terms of the environment: climate; nature and biodiversity; quality of life and the urban environment; sustainable use and management of natural resources and waste.

Environmental plan of action for sustainable development in Italy


Air and noise pollution



Waste management

The national waste observatory is the body responsible for supervision and control of waste, packaging and packaging waste management.

Legal measures - National waste observatories

Waste and land reclamations - Ministry of the Environment


The National Centre for Chemical Substances deals with the application of the new REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation of Chemicals) Regulation which substantially modifies the Community legislative framework on controlling chemical risk. The first phase of the application of the legislation consists of gathering information, by the industry, on all substances of which over 1 ton is produced or imported per year.

The activities of the National Centre for Chemical Substances include:

  • evaluating the danger from hazardous products/articles present in the Italian market;
  • coordinating the execution of analytical assessments and tests on chemical products retailed and the problems linked with overdoses of chemical substances;
  • giving opinions on the degree of danger of preparations bound for commerce.

Legislation - National Centre for Chemical Substances

Chemical safety - Ministry of Health

Evaluation of the environmental risk of chemical products - Ministry of the Environment

Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum environmental legal requirements at their own initiative.

Administrative procedures

Declaratory procedures

Italian businesses must follow a series of administrative procedures related to the environment. The main ones are listed below.

Environmental declaration single form

This is a standardised compulsory declaration for businesses (with more than ten employees) which produce special but non-hazardous waste. This must be submitted to the Chambers of Commerce once a year. The environmental declaration single form (MUD - Modello Unico di Dichiarazione Ambientale) includes the declaration on pollutant emissions into air and water to be entered into the National inventory of emissions and their sources (INES).

MUD - Italian Chambers of Commerce

Submitting MUD online

National inventory of emissions and their sources/European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (INES/PRTR declaration)

Submitting online declarations - National Packaging Consortium

Electrical and Electronic Material Manufacturers' Register

Registration is compulsory for businesses manufacturing electrical and electronic materials in line with specific environmental regulations.

Register of electrical and electronic material - Ministry of Environment

Declaration on Volatile Organic Compounds

Businesses dealing with paint, varnish or car bodies must send the Ministry of the Environment data and information on the types and quantities of products released on the market. Forms must be sent by post to the Chambers of Commerce by May 1st each year.

Volatile Organic Compounds - Italian Chambers of Commerce

Waste management

Businesses which regularly transport their own non-hazardous or hazardous waste materials in quantities not exceeding 30 kilograms or 30 litres per day must register with the National register of environmental operators. Those exceeding this amount must be registered in higher categories.

National register of environmental operators - Ministry of Environment

Necessary documents for registration in the National register of environmental operators

Businesses transporting waste materials by rail - Ministry of Environment

Dealing with waste - Ministry of the Environment

Permits and licences

Business owners can find information online on data transmission procedures, documents and declarations to be submitted, and can download the necessary forms.

Forms and Software -Environment Protection and Technical Services Agency


Industrial plants releasing harmful substances into the environment must apply for a special permit called an integrated environmental authorisation. The businesses must work on reducing pollution, preventing accidents and ensuring the decontamination of the site at the end of the activity.

List of industrial activities releasing substances harmful to the environment

Integrated environmental authorisation - Ministry of the Environment

Form - Integrated environmental authorisation


On the Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea website, it is possible to find the list of applicable laws for the various environmental topic areas.


Air and noise pollution



The Environment Protection and Technical Services Agency offers a series of services through its website, with databases of examples of good practice and other useful information.

Environmental services

ECOCERVED a company which manages the IT systems of the Chambers of Commerce and other organizations in the business sector, providing information on the compilation of the MUD module and the online assistance service.

Help and questions - ECOCERVED

Source: European Commission

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