Originally published January 11, 2011

Keywords: PNRS Interministerial Committee, waste management, reverse logistic systems, hazardous waste,

The Regulation of the National Policy on Waste Management, established by Decree No. 7,404/10 (the Decree), was published on December 23, 2010. In force since its publication, the Decree regulates the National Policy on Waste Management (PNRS), established by Federal Law No. 12,305/10 (the LPNRS), and creates the Steering Committee for the Implementation of Reverse Logistics Systems (Steering Committee) and the PNRS Interministerial Committee.

The main purpose of the PNRS Interministerial Committee is to support the PNRS structuring and implementation, in order to enable the accomplishment of the provisions and goals set forth by the LPNRS. The Steering Committee has the basic function of guiding the implementation of reverse logistics.

Among the instruments regulated by the Decree are the Reverse Logistics Systems, the Waste Management Plans (PGRS) and the National Registry for Hazardous Waste Operators.

The Decree lists three specific instruments for the implementation and operation of the reverse logistic systems: (i) sectorial agreements, executed between public authorities and the industry; (ii) regulations, issued by the executive branch; and (iii) commitment agreements—which are to be adopted in the absence of sectorial agreements and regulations and when specific circumstances require more restrictive obligations—to be approved by the competent environmental agency.

Regarding the obligation to prepare a PGRS, which should be required within environmental permitting proceedings, the Decree mentions the possibility of jointly submitting the PGRS under specific conditions and in cases where activities are conducted in the same condominium, municipality, micro-region or metropolitan/urban areas. Additionally, the Decree establishes that small companies that generate household waste, as provided for by article 30 of the LPNRS, are not required to submit a PGRS.

Regarding the National Registry for Hazardous Waste Operators, which must be integrated to the already existing Federal Technical Registry of IBAMA, the Decree establishes a registration obligation for companies that manipulate or operate hazardous waste. The Decree also describes those who are considered generators or operators of hazardous waste, establishing several requirements for their authorization or permitting. These include the preparation of hazardous waste management plan, the demonstration of technical and economic capacity and the obtaining of civil liability insurance for environmental damages.

Lastly, the Decree modifies some provisions of the Environmental Administrative Infraction Decree (Decree No. 6,514/08), typifying several conducts related to waste as administrative infractions, subject to penalties such as fines up to BRL 50 million.

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This article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.