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    Mexico City Formally Implements Its Waste Law…Finally!

    By Keith R | October 10, 2008

    Topics: Waste & Recycling | No Comments »

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    GDF Urges Residents to Separate Organics & InorganicsThis week Mexico’s Federal District (DF) — the zone encompassing Mexico City and its environs — published the implementing regulation for its 2003 Waste Law — five years later than called for by the Law.  Although the lack of an implementing does not stop a law from being applied and programs being launched (and the DF Government launched many!), the regulation is important for fleshing out and clarifying key portions of the law (this is true in most Latin American nations).  For example, it was left to the regulation to fully define the minimum content and standards for the waste management plans required under the Law.

    Why does what the DF ‘s waste policy matter?  Well, it affects nearly 10% of Mexico’s population, and it contributes more than any single state to the industrial (about 16%) and service (about 25%) segments of Mexico’s economy.  Furthermore what the DF does in waste policy is studied and sometimes copied by the states.  And just as the DF moved to adopt a waste law before the states, it also is one of the first to adopt follow-up secondary legislation.

    The DF waste law itself is a bit different from those adopted by most states and the federal general waste law in several respects, one of which being its broader list of waste streams considered “wastes requiring special management” for which manufacturers, importers and distributors must prepare special waste minimization plans.  The Law also says that the DF environment secretariat (SMA) must sign off on such plans (most states have not given their environmental authorities that power).  On the former, the DF’s Law has a long list of wastes and end-of-life products, including:

    Much to the chagrin of the packaging sector, the implementing regulation expands this list a bit through “clarification.”  It says that the management plan requirement for special wastes applies to:

    The regulation specifies that the recovery or return mechanisms adopted by those manufacturing, distributing or selling these goods must involve all actors in the chain.

    The regulation also specifies what is meant by the Law’s references to four special waste categories: health services; laboratory waste; cosmetics and foods; C&D wastes.  Last but not least, it further added three new categories to special waste status:

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