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Latin America Moves on Recycling Laws

The climate for stricter recovery and recycling regulation is heating up in Latin America, as more than six Latin American countries – including El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay -- are actively pursuing new recycling policies that could impact exports of packaged goods and expand producer responsibility, according to the a new report released by Raymond Communications Inc.

The report, "Recycling and Solid Waste in Latin America, 2002 Update," examines national laws and regulations addressing solid waste in Latin America, and includes an analysis of packaging growth, retail trends, and emerging solid-waste problems. According to the report, six Latin American countries currently have national laws and regulations addressing municipal solid waste, while three have bills pending and five are preparing them.

The report argues that Latin American countries are demonstrating increased interest in waste recovery and producer responsibility, examining a number of examples from the region. According to the report, Uruguay is considering takeback covenants for battery and tire manufacturers. In Mexico, Greens are negotiating with the president on a recycling bill as the government makes commitments on batteries and lamps under the North American Action Plan. Peru has approved a new waste law that features producer-responsibility and packaging-recovery-enabling language, and El Salvador is studying deposits for auto batteries, paper, plastics, and packaging.

"There is a general view among many people that Latin America doesn't care about waste problems. I think that is no longer true," said consultant Keith Ripley, the author of the report.

Other initiatives highlighted by the report include: a pending regulation on universal wastes in Argentina that would impose special regimes on batteries, fluorescent lamps, high-pressure neon lights, and printer cartridges; another bill in Argentina that seeks to ban the use of PVC for beverage containers; and existing national regulations in Brazil that require extended producer responsibility for batteries, tires, and pesticide packaging.

According to Ripley, batteries, tires, plastics, fluorescent lamps, used oil, and pesticide packaging are priorities across the region, and general-packaging and construction waste are rising concerns. Ripley said that, while Brazil alone is currently regulating electronics and vehicles, he predicts that other countries will soon follow Brazil’s lead.

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