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    Minas’ New State Waste Law Features Take-Back

    By Keith R | January 18, 2009

    Topics: Waste & Recycling | No Comments »

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    Last week the governor of Minas Gerais (MG) signed the State Solid Waste Policy Law.  The Law’s 57 articles establish the principles, guidelines, goals and instruments for the correct management of waste, and defines the obligations of different waste generators and the users of urban sanitation services.

    Minas is not the first Brazilian state to adopt a comprehensive state solid waste policy law — it joins the ranks of Ceará, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondônia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, São Paulo and Sergipe.  MG’s law shares many of the same principles and elements of the state laws that precede it, but breaks new ground on at least one key point: it explicitly enshrines the principle of “reverse logistics” — the term Brazilians use to refer to take-back. This is important not only in the example it sets for other states still working on their own waste policy laws, but also for the national waste policy bill under debate in the federal Chamber of Deputies.  The national bill also includes a similar section on reverse logistics that some in industry are fighting hard to get removed.  But now that Brazil’s second most populous state, representing around 10% of Brazil’s GDP, has made it a central part of its waste law, that may be hard to do.

    Two-Way Flows

    Section IV on Reverse Logistics calls on affected manufacturers and importers to:

    The Section also calls on product resellers, merchants and distributors to receive, handle and temporarily store returned EOL products, maintain the collection points and inform the consumer about their role in the take-back system.

    Which wastes are subject to “reverse logistics”?  Well, that is not entirely clear in the Law.  It has a definition for “reverse solid wastes,” but it sheds little light (essentially, wastes subject to reverse logistics that can be treated and reused as inputs to new products). The Law does call for the State and municipalities to adopt regulations fleshing out the Law’s obligations on “reverse wastes,” “respecting regional, local, economic and logistical diversities.”

    Special Wastes

    The chapter on obligations and responsibilities calls for manufacturers and importers to

    collect special solid wastes, in articulation with its sales network and with the municipal public power,  with the implementation of the necessary structure to guarantee the return flow of these wastes and to give them an environmentally adequate final destination, under the penalty of civil and criminal response, under the terms of environmental legislation.

    The Law does not specify which waste streams qualify as “special.”  Presumably this will be fleshed out in the implementing regulation.  If Minas follows the practice in most states, it will include nonreturnable packaging, scrap tires, lamps, batteries, pesticide packaging, used lubricants and expired medicines.  A few states have also added to that list electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), construction and demolition (C&D) wastes, end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) and water treatment sludge.

    Other Notable Provisions

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