In order to address the growing problem of urban waste management, the Federal Government issued a Law, the National Policy for Solid Waste. It establishes principles, objectives and instruments, as well as the directives relating to solid waste governance, including those of a hazardous nature, as well as the responsibilities of the parties generating the waste and of the government and applicable economic instruments.
Subject to the observation of this Law are those companies and individuals of a public or private structure which are responsible, directly or indirectly, for the generation of solid waste, and those which develop actions related to the integrated management or administration of solid waste. Some important definitions of such Law are, as follows:
i) Sectorial agreement: act of a contractual nature, signed between the government and manufacturers, importers, distributors or traders, with a view to the implementation of the responsibility by the product’s life cycle;
ii) Product life cycle: series of stages which involve the development of the product, the obtaining of raw materials, the manufacturing process, consumption and final conditioning;
iii) Environmentally suitable final destination: destination of waste which includes the reuse, recycling, composting, recuperation and energy-related approval or other destinations acceptable to the competent organs, amongst them being the final arrangement, observing specific operational norms in order to avoid damage or risk to public health and safety and the minimization of adverse environmental impact;
iv) Environmentally suitable final arrangement: ordered distribution of refuse in landfills, observing specific operational norms in order to avoid damages or risks to public health and safety and the minimization of adverse environmental impact;
v) Generators of solid waste: companies or individuals of a public or private structure which generate solid waste, directly or indirectly, those involved in consumption being included amongst such group;
vi) Management of solid waste: set of actions exercised, directly or indirectly, during the stages of collection, transportation, transshipment, treatment and the environmentally suitable final destination of solid waste and the environmentally suitable final arrangement of the refuse, in accordance with the integrated municipal management plan for solid waste or the solid waste management plan, as demanded in the form of this Law;
vii) Reverse logistics systems: instrument of economic and social development characterized by a set of actions, procedures and means destined towards enabling the collection and restitution of the solid waste for the corporate sector, for reuse, as part of its cycle or other productive cycles, or another environmentally suitable final destination;
viii) Refuse: solid waste for which, once all the treatment and recuperation possibilities through available technological and economically viable processes have been exhausted, there exists no possibility other than the environmentally suitable final destination;
ix) Solid waste: discarded material, substances, objects or goods which are the result of human activity in society, the final destination of which is conducted or is proposed to be conducted or is obliged to be conducted, in solid or semisolid states, as well as gases contained in recipients and liquids with particularities which make their disposal into the public waste system or bodies of water impossible, or which demand for such type of disposal technical or economically unviable solutions, in view of the best technology available;
x) Shared responsibility for the product life cycle: set of individualized and attached attributes pertaining to the manufacturers, importers, distributers and traders, the consumers and title holders of the urban cleaning and solid waste handlers, to minimize the volume of the solid waste and refuse generated, as well as reduce the impact caused to human health and to the quality of the environment arising from the life cycle of the products, under the terms of this law.
The responsibilities mentioned above are shared by the Government and Generators of solid waste. The government, the corporate sector and the community are responsible for the effectiveness of the actions aimed at ensuring the observance of the National Policy on Solid Waste and the directives and other determinations established in the Law and its regulation.
The generator of domestic solid waste has terminated its responsibility for the waste with suitable arrangements being made for the collection or return.
The shared responsibility for the life cycle of the products is established and is to be implemented in an individualized and connected manner, covering the manufacturers, importers, distributers and traders and the consumers and title holders of the urban cleaning and solid waste handlers.
Without affecting the obligations established in the solid waste management plan and with a view to strengthening the shared responsibility and its objectives, the manufacturers, importers, distributers and traders have responsibilities which cover:
The packaging, in its turn, should be manufactured from materials which provide for the reuse or recycling, in observance of the respective responsible parties to ensure that the packaging be: restricted in volume and weight to the required dimensions for the protection of the content and for the commercialization of the product; being protected in a way for it to be reused in a technically viable manner; and recycled, if reuse does not prove to be possible.
Responsible for the observance of these arrangements are all those who: manufacture packaging or supply materials for the manufacture of packaging; and those who place in circulation packaging, materials for the manufacture of packaging or packaged products, at any stage of the commercial chain.
In fact, those obliged to structure and implement systems of reverse logistics, involving the return of the products following their use by the consumer, in a manner which is independent of the public urban cleaning and solid waste management service are the manufacturers, importers, distributers and traders of:
In line with the arrangements made by regulations or in accordance with the Sectorial Agreements signed between the government and the private sector, the reverse logistics systems shall be extended to products traded in plastic, metallic or glass packaging, and to other products and packaging, primarily considering the degree and extent of the impact of the waste generated on the public health and the environment.
Without affecting the specific demands, the manufacturers, importers, distributors and traders of products ii, iii and vi mentioned above, or of products and packaging referred to in items i and vi, are responsible for all necessary measures to ensure the implementation and maintenance of the reverse logistics systems under its charge, allowing it to, amongst other procedures: a) implement purchase procedures in relation to the products and packaging used; b) make delivery points available for the reused and recyclable waste; c) act in partnership with cooperatives or other types of associations involved in the collection of reusable or recyclable materials.
After use, the consumers should return the products and packaging mentioned in items i to v and other products or packaging which are the subject of reverse logistics. The traders and distributors should effect such return to the manufacturers or the importers of the collected or returned products and packaging. The manufacturers and importers shall provide an environmentally suitable destination for the products and packaging collected or returned, with the waste being sent to an environmentally suitable final destination.
If the title holder to the public urban cleaning and solid waste management service, by means of a Sectorial Agreement with the private sector, assumes the activities of the manufacturers, importers, distributers and traders in the systems of reverse logic involved in the products and packaging, the government actions shall be duly remunerated in a manner previously agreed between the parties.
In February 2013, it was published Public Notice Call n. 01/2013, concerning the “Calling for the Development of Sectorial Agreement for the Implementation of Reverse Logistics System for electronic and electrical products and their components”. Among the main aspects of this document, it is important to highlight the points below:
As well as the establishment of goals for the sector, that will be based on a time table of five years after the agreement is signed and is to be fulfilled as follows: a) Until the fifth year after the signing of the agreement, 100% (one hundred percent) of municipalities with more than 80,000 (eighty thousand) inhabitants are to be reached by the Logistics System them should be the environmentally appropriate disposal of 100% of the waste received; b) In each city served by Logistics System, the number and location of the receiving points must be deployed strategically, creating a geographic coverage based on population density in urban areas, so that there are, permanently, at least one receiving point for each 25,000 (twenty five thousand) inhabitants. Nevertheless the number of points can be defined by other criteria listed in the Public Call.
By the end of the fifth year after the Sectorial Agreement is signed, the goal to be reached is that the collection (and their environmentally sound disposal) of 17% (seventeen percent) of the weight of all electronic and electrical products that have been placed on the national market in the year prior to signing the Sectorial Agreement.
All interested parties have a period of 120 (one hundred twenty) days from the publication of the notice to submit their proposals, i.e. they must do so until 13/06/2013.
The Department of Environment and Sustainability at Felsberg e Associados remains thoroughly examining the progress rate of the new obligations created by the National Policy for Solid Waste as well as those of the instruments arising from it and will keep our clients informed of any developments.
Fonte – Legalink Natural Resources Newsletter – 1st Quarter 2013.