Latin American Environmental Regulatory Tracker
Our monthly Latin American Environmental Regulatory Tracker lists pending and recently enacted environmental laws and regulations in several Latin American countries. The December 2016 issue covers developments from October 16 to November 15.
National Comprehensive Waste Management Regime Proposed
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would impose requirements for the integrated management of wastes, including extended producer responsibility mechanisms designed to minimize the generation of wastes and promote reuse, recovery, and recycling. The bill would apply to all products and their wastes placed on the national market, whether manufactured domestically or imported into the country. All wastes covered by the Hazardous Waste Law (No. 24.051), the Empty Fertilizer Container Law (No. 27.279), or those governed by specific regulations, would be excluded.
Packaging Waste Management Bill Proposed
After a recent string of packaging waste management proposals, another similar bill has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies that would require importers, manufacturers, packagers, and sellers of packaging and packaged products to:
- Develop and implement one or more individual or collective packaging waste management systems.
- Mark packaging or its label with a symbol established by the Implementing Authority.
- Comply with packaging waste recovery goals.
- Provide information to the Implementing Authority to prove compliance with waste recovery goals.
Within two years of the bill’s enactment, the sale of “non-returnable” packaged products would be prohibited in Argentina.
Program to Promote Energy Efficient Domestic Appliances Proposed
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would create the Program to Promote the Production and Sale of Energy Efficient Electronic Appliances for Household Use (RENOVATE) to stimulate demand for energy efficient domestic appliances on the national market and accelerate the replacement of their high-energy-consuming counterparts. Through RENOVATE, consumers would be able to purchase new appliances at discounted prices from participating entities and turn in their old appliances at the same time. Participating entities would be eligible for budgetary credits to carry out the Program and would be required to properly decontaminate and dispose of all appliances received from consumers.
LED Bulb Transition Program Proposed
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would establish a LED Bulb Transition Program designed to generate and promote policies to replace traditional incandescent bulbs with more energy efficient LED bulbs. The Implementing Authority (not yet defined) would be charged with:
- Promoting the domestic production and sale of LED bulbs.
- Facilitating the import of technology needed to produce LED bulbs.
- Collaborating with the Ministry of Education to publicize the energy savings benefits of LED bulb use, among other responsibilities.
All public entities would be required to complete the LED bulb transition within their facilities by 2020.
National Battery Waste Management Program Proposed
The Secretariat of Environment (SAyDS) proposed a draft decree establishing the framework for a national comprehensive battery waste management program that would include take-back and registration requirements for producers and importers of the following types of batteries:
- AA and AAA zinc/carbon and zinc/manganese dioxide batteries.
- Mercury oxide, zinc/air, silver oxide, and lithium button batteries.
- Nickel cadmium and nickel-metal hydride secondary batteries.
It would exclude batteries used in medical and national security applications and those that are difficult to remove without damaging the product.
Regulation to Waste Law Published
Supreme Decree No. 2954/2016 was published in the Official Gazette, approving the Regulation to the Law for the Integrated Management of Wastes (No. 755/2015). Notably, the Regulation includes an extended producer responsibility regime for waste electrical and electronic equipment and would require producers and distributors to:
- Register in a registry established by the Ministry of Environment and Water.
- Develop Compliance Programs for the management of post-consumer products, which will be valid for up to five years.
- Submit Compliance Program Plans to the Ministry of Environment and Water for approval.
- Implement Compliance Programs.
Proposed Deadline Extension for Water Shortage Warning Labels on Cleaning Products Approved
The Economic Development Committee in the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill that would postpone the deadline for new cleaning products to display water shortage warning labels by December 28, 2016 (established by Law 13.233/2016). Those cleaning products already in circulation would have until December 28, 2017, to comply with the new labeling requirement. The justification for the bill is based on the principle that most of the obligated entities are small to medium-sized companies that do not have the financial capacity to implement the changes in the allotted timeframe. Already approved by the Environment Committee, the proposal now passes to the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship Committee for review.
Proposed Business Size Definition Modifications Would Impact Environmental Fees
The Environment Committee in the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill that would amend the definitions for small, medium, and large companies under the National Environmental Policy (Law No. 6.938/1981), impacting the amount that entities must pay for the Environmental Control and Inspection Fee (TCFA)—a mandatory fee set by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA) based on the pollution potential of a company’s activities, degree of use of natural resources, and its size. Already approved by the Economic Development Committee, the proposal passes to the Committees for Finance and Taxation, and Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship for review.
Bill Requiring Public Entities to Purchase and Use Recycled Paper Proposed
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would amend the National Solid Waste Policy (No. 12.305/2010) to require that at least 50% of the paper purchased or used by public entities be produced through recycling. This requirement would not apply in the event that recycled paper is unavailable on the market or if the paper does not meet the minimum technical specifications for its intended use.
National Program for Sustainable Consumption and Production Approved
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet approved the National Program for Sustainable Consumption and Production, which outlines twelve general lines of action to modify current patterns of consumption and production in a range of key sectors to promote sustainable development within Chile and support the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. These lines of action target the following areas: construction, tourism, food systems, industry, consumer information, lifestyle and education, cities, the public sector, small businesses, waste management, clean energy, and energy efficiency, and water management.
2020 National Chemical Risk Management Policy Published
The National Planning Department, in coordination with other government entities, has published the 2020 National Chemical Risk Management Policy(CONPES Document No. 3868), intended to fill in gaps within the country’s implementation of risk management measures during each stage of the chemical life cycle. Notably, the Policy includes a list of ten recommendations, one of which calls for the Ministries of Health, Labor, Commerce, Agriculture, and Transport to issue regulations to implement the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals by December 2020.
PCB Management Regulation Modified
A resolution (No. 1741/2016) published by the Ministry of Environment modifies existing PCB management regulation (Resolution No. 222/2011) by:
- Removing the definitions for “equipment and waste inventory” and “treatment of PCBs."
- Requiring new equipment that does not possess a certificate from its manufacturer or supplier verifying the absence of PCBs to display a plaque indicating that it is free of PCBs.
- Requiring maintenance and repair companies to issue a certificate to verify that the equipment was not contaminated with PCBs while performing their duties.
- Requiring management plans to include strategies to inform the public about the environmental and health risks surrounding PCB-contaminated equipment and wastes, among other amendments.
Lead and Asbestos Proposals Combined Under Hazardous Substance Monitoring Bill
Two bills proposed in the Chamber of Deputies—one that would restrict lead in certain products and the other that would ban asbestos throughout Colombia—have been incorporated into another Chamber of Deputies bill that would regulate hazardous substances in the country. The new bill retains many key elements of the three individual proposals, but with some modifications. Notably, the bill would:
- Create a national information and risk assessment system, entitled the National Hazardous Substance Monitoring System (SNSN).
- Establish a take-back regime for batteries containing lead or other hazardous substances.
- Impose reporting and labeling requirements on producers and sellers of products containing hazardous substances.
Importantly, specific lead limits in products would be eliminated. In the case of technological articles the require the use of lead to ensure proper functioning, the bill indicates that the government would establish separate regulations, taking into consideration international lead standards and technical regulations.
Senate Approves Water As A Fundamental Right
In a unanimous vote, the Senate approved a bill modifying the federal Constitution to declare water a fundamental human right. The bill now passes to the Chamber of Deputies for final review.
Modifications Made to Bill Requiring Commercial Establishments to Disclose Origin of Imported Products
In its first-round debate in the Chamber of Deputies, a bill requiring commercial establishments to identify the origin of the imported product was modified to extend its scope to secondary products, in addition to primary products. Under the bill, secondary products are defined as processed products derived from primary materials and include products from the textile, electronics, and chemical industries, among others.
WEEE Take-Back Bill Proposed
The Ministry of Environment has proposed a bill based on the principle of extended producer responsibility that would establish minimum environmental protection measures for the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) throughout the country. Notably, producers would be required to carry out a range of activities, including:
- Ensuring the collection of WEEE in an amount equivalent to the quantity first placed on the domestic market at the time of the bill’s enactment.
- Registering in the Registry for Generators of Hazardous and/or Special Wastes.
- Individually or collectively developing, financing, and implementing an Integrated Management Program (PGI) approved by the Implementing Authority.
- Meeting WEEE recovery goals.
- Annually reporting the implementation progress of the PGI to the Implementing Authority.
- Incorporating design-for-environment concepts in product manufacturing, among other responsibilities.
Non-Biodegradable Material Ban Proposed
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would modify the General Waste Law to ban the free offering of non-biodegradable materials, as well as the transport of urban solid waste containing or packaged with non-biodegradable materials. The bill would also promote the substitution of non-biodegradable materials with environmentally-friendly alternatives.
Energy Efficiency Standards for Domestic Appliances Published
The Secretariat of Energy (SENER) has finalized two energy efficiency standards for domestic appliances:
- NOM-005-ENER-2016, which repeals and replaces NOM-005-ENER-2012 and establishes energy efficiency limits, testing methods, and labeling requirements for domestic-use washing machines.
- NOM-016-ENER-2016, which repeals and replaces NOM-016-ENER-2010 and establishes energy efficiency limits, testing methods, and labeling requirements for alternating current motors.
Data Terminal Equipment Standard Published
The Secretariat of Economy has published NOM-196-SCFI-2016, which establishes mechanical, electrical, and testing specifications for data terminal equipment (e.g. printers, routers, application servers) that is connected or interconnected through wired access to a public telecommunications network and is manufactured, imported, sold, distributed and/or leased in Mexico. Within 60 days of its publication, the standard will replace NOM-151-SCT1-1999 and NOM-EM-015-SCFI-2015.
The Agency for Safety, Energy, and Environment (ASEA) has published NOM-EM-002-ASEA-2016, which establishes test methods and parameters for the operation, maintenance, and efficiency of Gasoline Vapor Recovery Systems already installed in public gas stations located in the 16 delegations of Mexico City and the 18 municipalities of Mexico State, which are included in the Atmospheric Environmental Contingency Program of the Metropolitan Area . The Standard will be valid for a period of six months and covered gas stations will have 90 days from its publication date to comply with the new rules.
Draft Regulation to Energy Transition Law Proposed
The Secretariat of Energy (SENER) has published the draft regulation to the Energy Transition Law, approved in December 2015. The draft regulation would establish:
- Enrollment requirements to the voluntary Excellence in Energy Efficiency Program.
- Labeling and reporting obligations for products listed in the Catalogue of Energy Using Equipment.
- The approval process of supplier statements to be included on sales materials.
Official Mexican Seal of Conformity Draft Standard Proposed
The Secretariat of Economy has published a draft standard in the Official Gazette, which would establish the design and use conditions for the Secretariat's official seal of conformity, displayed on products that demonstrate compliance with Official Mexican Standards (NOMs) and Voluntary Mexican Standards (NMXs). The Standard would amend the current standard, NOM-106-SCFI-2000, by modifying and adding several definitions and circumstances in which the Official Seal would be canceled.
Voluntary Performance Standards for Electro-Electronic Products Proposed
The Secretariat of Economy has posted two voluntary performance standards covering electro-electronic products for a 60-day public comment period: one that would establish methods to measure the performance of microwave ovens for domestic use, and the other that would establish performance requirements for electromedical equipment and systems.
Mexico City Approves 2016-2020 Solid Waste Program
Mexico City's Secretariat of Environment approved its 2016-2020 Integrated Solid Waste Management Program (PGIRS), which establishes eight strategies for achieving "zero waste" through an inclusive and participatory approach. Specifically, PGIRS targets the following waste management areas:
- Prevention and minimization.
- Reuse and recovery.
- Normative and administrative instruments.
- Environmental protection.
The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) carried out its 7th National Highway Operation to ensure that materials, substances, and hazardous wastes are being transported in accordance with federal laws and regulations for the transport and transboundary movement of wastes. PROFEPA detected the irregular handling of 137 tons of hazardous waste, including lead-acid batteries, used oil, tetrachlorobenzene, and hydrocarbon sludge.
Return System for Used Containers Proposed
A bill proposed in Peru’s unicameral congress would call for the Executive Power, in coordination with regional and local governments, to promote the necessary actions to implement a return system for used plastic containers, cans, and cartons. These entities would be encouraged to incorporate recycling associations and workers, and consult with the general public, the private sector, and the international community to design and carry out the System.
As part of our International Environmental Law practice group, Beveridge & Diamond's Latin America practice group helps multinational clients navigate dynamic and unprecedented change in Latin American environmental law. We counsel clients from various industrial sectors on a wide range of issues arising under the domestic environmental regulations of most Latin American countries with an emphasis in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. For more information, please contact the authors.