In February 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency of the province of Buenos Aires - the jurisdiction in which most of Argentina's commercial and industrial activity is concentrated, and home to 40% of the country's total population - issued Resolution 389/2010 governing electronic waste management.

According to the regulation, electronic waste is deemed as 'special waste' and is thus subject to the provincial regulatory regime applicable to this kind of waste established by Law 11,720 and its implementing regulations. Therefore, such waste must be handled, transported and disposed of following specific procedures and requirements by authorised agents operating under licences granted by the provincial agency.

Enforcement of this resolution will take place in two stages:

  • For small appliances, telecommunications and computer devices, electronic and lighting equipment and batteries, the resolution is in force from January 1 2011; and
  • For big appliances, electronic tools, toys or gym and outdoors equipment, medical, surveillance and control equipment, and expending machines, the resolution will take effect from January 1 2012.

Resolution 389/2010 aims to prevent the indiscriminate generation of electronic waste and promote the reuse and recycling of such waste, and manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of electronic equipment have been given a key role.

Every two years, manufacturers of electronic devices are required to file an electronic waste management plan for approval before the provincial environmental agency. These plans are aimed at minimising the impact of such waste on the environment and must contemplate mechanisms for extending the life of electronic equipment and products, and for facilitating the reduction, reuse, recycling and final disposal of electronic waste.

Electronic devices and equipment to be marketed in the province of Buenos Aires must be identified with a special logo which is similar to that used within the European Union.

Following from international experience, this resolution applies the extended producer responsibility principle, which until now was mainly considered only in academic forums, since the only existing precedent regarding the application of the principle was the environmental agency's Resolution 262/08 from the city of Buenos Aires. According to this principle, manufacturers of electronic devices are urged, although not compelled, to organise systems to allow end users and distributors of electronic devices to return, at no cost, an amount of electronic waste that is equivalent to the amount of new equipment introduced by the manufacturer into the market.

Manufacturers and distributors are required to inform end users about:

  • the prohibition against the disposal of electronic waste with domiciliary waste;
  • available collection systems;
  • the manners in which they can contribute to reuse and recycling; and
  • the effects that the hazardous substances contained in electronic devices may have on the environment and human health.

Further regulations on similar waste are expected at both federal and provincial levels.

For further information on this topic please contact Federico S Deyá or Marina Cabral at Marval O'Farrell & Mairal by telephone (+54 11 4310 0100), fax (+54 11 4310 0200) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The Marval O'Farrell & Mairal website can be accessed at