Brazil: Investment Opportunities In Waste Management In Brazil


The publication of the National Solid Waste Policy – NSWP (Política Nacional de Resíduos Sólidos), on the 2nd of August of 2010 (pursuant to Law 12.305/2010), sets out the Brazilian federal government's intentions with regard to waste management. The NSWP aims to foster growth and sophistication in the waste management industry in Brazil. It includes economic incentives designed to solve issues associated with waste management in Brazil. The proposed changes in waste management will encourage investment in reuse and recycling facilities and generation of energy from waste. Generally, the approach is similar to other western nations, namely a move away from the current dominance of landfill. However such is the dominance of landfill that it will remain a significant feature for a number of years and, consequently, investment will be required to upgrade the engineering quality of the remaining landfills.

In addition to the NSWP, the National Energy Plan 2030 – NEP 2030 (EPE 2007), which was prepared by Empresa de Planejamento Energético – EPE (a public body linked with the Brazilian Ministry of Mining and Energy), is also worthy of attention. This national energy plan looks at the next few years of the Brazilian energy market and highlights significant potential growth in the generation of energy from waste (up to 1.3 GW).

Nature and size of the Brazilian waste market

The Brazilian waste market is relatively large. The latest reliable national statistics are from 2008 and show that in Brazil approximately 5,500 cities utilise public waste management services which deal with up to 259,547 tonnes of waste per day. The statistics show that 97-98% of this waste is sent to landfill, with roughly 64% going to fully engineered landfills (with which western operators will be largely familiar), 18% going to uncontrolled and unengineered landfills and the balance being disposed of in intermediate landfills (i.e. regulated with varying forms of engineered safeguards). Approximately 0.03% of the above waste is incinerated without any form of energy recovery.

With regard to recycling, the first official report was prepared in 1989 and identified the existence of 58 separate collection programs in the country. By 2000, this number had risen to 451 and then to 994 in 2008. Even at this level, only 0.63% of organic waste was composted and 1.2% of municipal waste recycled. The South and Southeast regions of Brazil contain 46.0% and 32.4% respectively of the cities which have selective collection programs.

Private contractors manage other wastes but there are few reliable figures in this regard, save that there is a relatively thriving private waste management sector in metals and plastics collection. During 2006, 138,100 tonnes of waste aluminium cans were recycled (being a national recycling rate of 94.4%) and in the same period Brazil recycled 194,000 tonnes (or 51.3%) of waste PET bottles.  


Under the Brazilian Constitution it is the responsibility of each Municipal Government to provide adequate waste management services in its territory. The majority of urban waste management systems are provided by Municipal Governments (65.5%) with the private sector providing the balance (34.5%). All companies carrying out waste management activities need to be licensed by the appropriate environmental agency, which almost always is the environmental agency of the respective state. 

Key Provisions of the National Solid Waste Policy

Law 12.305/2010, which established the NSWP, is a Federal Law which aims to significantly increase the recovery and recycling of waste and establish a framework for enhanced waste management in Brazil. This law sets out principles, establishes goals and creates economic instruments and guidelines for integrated waste management, with specific obligations for the Government and the waste producers.

In summary, Law 12.305/2010:

  1. recognises the economic and social benefits of reuse, recycling and recovery of waste;
  2. creates economic, financial and credit instruments aimed at facilitating and encouraging investment in   sustainable waste management facilities;
  3. supports cooperation and partnership between public and private sectors;
  4. requires cities to abolish unregulated landfill sites and fly tipping;
  5. compels some industries to implement "waste reverse logistics systems" that are aimed at recovering waste for reuse, recycling or sustainable disposal;
  6. establishes a shared responsibility for the life cycle of products; and
  7. encourages the development of new businesses in this sector.

Energy from Waste

This is expressly favoured, particularly as it also constitutes a clean/renewable form of energy. Law 12,305/2010 expressly supports increased energy recovery from waste. In a subsequent LawNow article we will delve deeper into the Brazilian Government's intentions in this regard.

In the meantime it is worth noting some of the existing facilities in Brazil. The city of São Paulo currently operates energy generation from landfill gas facilities at its two largest landfills, Bandeirantes and São José. These plants are capable of generating 20 MW and 24.8 MW of electricity respectively, which is enough to meet the electricity needs of around 170,000 Brazilian households. Additionally, Sao Bernardo do Campo, a city located in an important industrial region of São Paulo state, is now in the process of building energy from waste thermal plant through a Public Private Partnership (PPP). 

Financial Incentives

The Federal and State Governments have authorised the federal financial institutions to set up special lines of credit to finance activities aimed at reuse, recycling and recovery of waste, including the development and deployment of new technology in the Brazilian waste management sector.

Additionally, in order to encourage the construction of energy from waste plants, the National Agency of Electric Energy (ANEEL) has created an incentive for energy from waste plants by offering an exemption from transmission and distribution fees. This exemption will be available for plants with an installed capacity of up to 30 MW which use waste to satisfy more than 50% of their fuel needs.

Contracting with the Municipal Government

Outsourcing of waste management obligations by Municipal Governments can be carried out in a number of ways including public concessions, public consortiums and PPPs.


In most countries when they embarked on an overhaul of their waste management sectors, uncertainties arose in connection with the underlying laws and policies which supported such reforms. Brazil is no different in this regard. Naturally there are a number of uncertainties surrounding some of the operational concepts and rules created by NSWP. However Brazil is undoubtedly moving in a direction which is very familiar to that being seen in many other parts of the world, and in particular in the West. It is a direction which is generally well understood and familiar to investors. It is believed that the new regulatory frameworks, coupled with an expanding economy, economic incentives and special lines of finance should encourage the entry of private investors, including non-Brazilian companies, to help develop modern waste management solutions in Brazil in the coming years.

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to

Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 05/03/2012.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions