This month’s tracker reflects key initiatives from February 16 - March 15, 2017.

This month, Latin American countries sustain their pace issuing progressive environmental measures, and the Region continues to emerge as a global leader on sustainability issues. 

Product recycling requirements matured in several jurisdictions. Buenos Aires has proposed an amendment to its municipal hazardous waste law to classify all batteries as hazardous and subjecting them to mandatory take-back and recycling; Chile has ratified the first three of its national producer responsibility regulations and established a framework for its priority products; and Colombia has reissued its draft WEEE regulation and proposed a novel definition of "producer" to include financers and leasers of electronic equipment.

Climate change and energy efficiency requirements continue to dominate legislative and agency attention in the Region. Brazil continues its march to adopt energy efficiency standards for a range of products, and the State of São Paulo has proposed a novel bill that would require solar panels to be installed in public schools and hotels; Chile continued to issue numerous energy efficiency standards, and published its ambitious Energy Sector Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Plan; Colombia proposed new carbon tax regulations for public comment; and Peru adopted new standards for LED lamps.

Notably, several new wastewater discharge standards are under development. It is inevitable, given recent constitutional changes in many jurisdictions, that water supply and quality issues will force new laws and regulations.  Costa Rica adopted its first long-term National Wastewater Sanitation Policy; and Peru proposed a new water quality standard, setting new Environmental Quality Standards for a variety of industries, and included new measures for non-point-source discharges from agricultural activities, as well as sport fields and parks.

For your convenience, we are including links for final laws and resolutions. If you would like copies of proposed initiatives, please contact me or Tiffany Carlson. We welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions.   ¡Gracias!

Maddie Kadas, Latin American Environmental Practice Leader


New WEEE Management Bill Proposed

A bill proposed in the Senate would strengthen the national regulatory framework for the integrated management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Like many similar past proposals, EEE producers would be subject to individual and/or collective WEEE Management System requirements. The bill is now before the Environment and Justice Committees for review.

Buenos Aires Proposes to Classify Used Batteries as Hazardous Waste; Rules for Management

A bill proposed in the legislature of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires would classify used batteries as hazardous waste by incorporating them into Annex I of the City’s Hazardous Waste Law (No. 2214). The bill would also establish rules for the use, manufacture, transport, marketing, recovery, recycling, treatment, and final disposal of end-of-life batteries. If adopted as proposed, battery producers and importers in Buenos Aires City would be required to participate in return systems for used batteries, and subjected to registration, reporting, and package labeling requirements.

Buenos Aires Establishes Voluntary Sustainability Certification Program for Offices

The Buenos Aires Environmental Protection Agency has published a resolution (No. 69/APRA/17) and an accompanying Annex to establish the "CREAS Sustainability Certification Program for Offices" –a voluntary program that aims to transform public and private workplaces into more eco-friendly spaces. The Annex includes the Program’s objectives and an application form.


Mercury-Containing Thermometers and Blood Pressure Meters Will Be Banned

Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) has published a resolution (No. 145/2017)—effective January 1, 2019—prohibiting the manufacture, import, and marketing of mercury-containing thermometers and sphygmomanometers, as well as their use in health services. The Resolution would not apply to products for research, instrument calibration, or use as a reference standard. Those caught violating these rules will be subject to penalties under the Federal Sanitary Sanctioning Regime (Law No. 6.437/1977).

Hazardous Waste Tracking Bill Proposed

A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would strengthen the National Solid Waste Policy’s (No. 12.305/2010) provisions governing the management and traceability of hazardous wastes in the country.  Specifically, the bill would require hazardous waste operators to install remote tracking devices in vehicles used to transport hazardous wastes. The bill would also require the National Registry of Hazardous Waste Operators to include a system for tracking hazardous wastes during generation, collection, transport, storage, and disposal stages.

Asbestos Ban Bill Proposed

A bill proposed in the Senate would prohibit the extraction, industrialization, import, transport, and storage of asbestos and minerals and rocks containing hydrated silicates in Brazil, as well as the import and marketing of products that use them as a raw material. The Bill would establish a step-by-step implementation schedule to allow the mining, industry, and commerce sectors to adjust to the ban, as well as those that use asbestos products. The Bill is now before the Infrastructure Committee for review. 

Draft Energy Efficiency Standards for Ceiling Fans Published

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has published draft energy efficiency standards for domestically manufactured or imported ceiling fans (operated by a single-phase electric motor with a voltage of 127 V or 220 V; propellers with a maximum diameter of 152.4 cm, among other characteristics) sold in Brazil for domestic or commercial purposes. All covered products would be required to include their energy efficiency level (expressed in m3 /s)/W) on their packaging. If adopted as proposed, covered products would need to be manufactured and imported in accordance with the new rules by February 28, 2018; marketed by manufacturers and importers in accordance with the new rules by October 31, 2018; and marketed by wholesalers and retailers in accordance with the new rules by April 30, 2019.

Mandatory Solar Panels on Public Schools and Hotels Proposed in São Paulo

A bill proposed in the São Paulo Legislative Assembly would make solar photovoltaic panels compulsory in public schools and hotels within the State to achieve greater energy efficiency at lower costs. It is currently before the Constitution, Justice, and Drafting Committee for review. 

São Paulo Publishes 2016 Environmental Quality Report

The São Paulo Secretariat of Environment (SMA) has published the State’s 2016 Environmental Quality Report—an annual report that assesses the main programs and actions of São Paulo’s Environmental System and its impact on environmental quality indicators to understand its overall environmental status. The report is an important environmental planning and policy developing tool for the State.


Council of Ministers Approves Implementing Regulations to Recycling Law

The Secretariats of Environment, Health, Economy, Energy, Public Works, Housing, Mining, and Agriculture (the “Council of Ministries for Sustainability”) have ratified the  three implementing regulations (Procedural Regulation, Regulation Governing the Transboundary Movement of Wastes, and Recycling Fund Regulation) to the Law for the Management of Wastes, Extended Producer Responsibility, and Promotion of Recycling (No. 20.920), which establishes a take-back framework for six end-of-life "priority products," which include electrical and electronic equipment, cells and batteries, containers and packaging, lubricating oils, and tires. With the implementation of the Law, Chile aims to increase national recycling rates, currently less than 10%, to 30% over the next five years. 

New Energy Efficiency Label Established for Televisions, Clothes Dryers, and Dishwashers

The Ministry of Energy has published three resolutions requiring a new energy efficiency label for televisions (No. 7/2017), developed according to technical specifications approved by Ministry of Energy Resolution No. 47/2015; clothes dryers (No. 6/2017), developed according to technical specifications approved by Ministry of Energy Resolution No. 46/2015; and dishwashers (No. 8/2017); developed according to technical specifications approved by Ministry of Energy Resolution No. 48/2015. Those entities that manufacture, import, or market these products in Chile must adhere to these new rules.

Energy Sector Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Plan Open for Public Comment

In response to climate change driven droughts and forest fires in Chile this past year, the Ministries of Environment and Energy have posted an  Energy Sector Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Plan for public comment until April 15, 2017. Given that 75% of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions are produced by the Energy Sector (with energy generation and transportation as the primarily culprits), the Plan aims to combat the effects of climate change by incorporating renewable energies in the country’s energy matrix and increasing actions to promote energy efficiency.


Expanded New Draft WEEE Regulation Reissued

After being posted for public comment in April 2016, the Ministries of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) and Commerce, Industry, and Tourism (MINCIT) have completely revamped the draft decree modifying the Single Regulation of the Environment and Sustainable Development Sector (No. 1076/2015) to introduce provisions on the integrated management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Mostly notably, the revised draft decree varies from its predecessor in that it: (i) expands the definition of producer to include distributors, commercial financing companies, and manufacturers and importers who import EEE for their own use; (ii) permits the National Environmental Licensing Authority (ANLA) to publicly supply information on producer WEEE Collection and Management Systems; (iii) shortens the time period in which EEE distributors would have to sell their products to registered producers only; (iv) establishes a sanctioning regime; and (v) sets a future effective date if approved. The revised draft decree is open for public comment until April 3, 2017. Interested parties may submit comments to [email protected] or [email protected].

Draft Carbon Tax Implementing Regulations Published

The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development has published two draft resolutions implementing Tax Reform Law No. 1819/2016 in regards to Colombia’s national carbon tax. The first draft resolution would establish the terms and conditions for taxpayers of the carbon tax to be certified as carbon neutral, while the second resolution would establish the guidelines for the destination of the funds acquired through the carbon tax.

Revised Draft National WEEE Management Policy Published

The Ministry of Environment (MINAMBIENTE) has published a revised 2032 draft National Policy for the Integrated Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Most notably, the proposed changes would modify the Draft Policy's Action Plan to: (i) clarify, elaborate upon, and introduce additional goals, (ii) differentiate between short (5 years), medium (10 years), and long term (15 years) goals, and (iii) extend its review period from every four years to every five years. The Draft WEEE Management Policy lays the foundation for future regulation of an expanded set of WEEE not currently regulated in Colombia and increased requirements for domestic WEEE producers and importers.


Bill Calls MINAE to Oversee Environmental Pollution Prevention and Control

In attempts to better define, differentiate, and allocate responsibilities based on core competencies, a bill proposed in the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly would charge the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) with preventing and controlling environmental pollution. The bill would also modify the Law for the Integrated Management of Wastes (No. 8839) (the "Law") to transfer the responsibility of overseeing authority from the Ministry of Health to MINAE. Therefore, those entities subject to registration, waste management program, and reporting requirements under the Law would now be required to carry out these activities before MINAE if the bill is adopted as proposed.

First National Wastewater Sanitation Policy Established

Costa Rica has established its first long-term National Wastewater Sanitation Policy (2016-2045 PNSAR), linked to an investment of more than $520 million in infrastructure works, which marks a path of significant progress in the country’s public health and environmental protection systems. The Policy is the product of discussions carried out between national and international consultants, the Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers( AyA), the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy (MIDEPLAN), municipalities, the Administrative Associations for Communal Aqueducts and Sewer Systems (ASADAS), and universities.

INTECO and CSO Update Compendium of 74 Occupational Health and Safety Standards

The Technical Standards Institute of Costa Rica (INTECO) and the Occupational Health Council (CSO) finalized the “National Project Updating the Occupational Health and Safety Technical Standards Package,” comprised of 74 technical standards covering a range of sectors (e.g., manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and academic, among others.) and topics (e.g., protective equipment for eyes, ears, and respiratory tract; machine safety; ergonomics; and exposure to extreme environments, among others). INTECO and CSO hope that the revised standards will help to reduce instances of workplace injury, illness, and death in Costa Rica.   


Health Requirements for Processing and Using Asbestos Finalized

The Secretariat of Health has published NOM-125-SSA1-2016, which establishes health specifications for all entities that process and use asbestos, so as to reduce health risks to personnel exposed in the workplace. The Standard replaces NOM-125-SSA1-1994 and is partially harmonized with the 1986 Asbestos Convention. It enters into force within 550 days of its publication in the Official Gazette.

Design and Requirements for the Use, License, and Sublicense of the “Made in Mexico” Distinction Published

The Secretariat of Economy has published an agreement establishing the design and requirements to grant the use, license, and sublicense of the “Made in Mexico” product distinction. The Agreement entered into force the day following its publication in the Official Gazette and replaced the “Agreement establishing the Made in Mexico distinction and the conditions for granting authorization for its use” (2009). Those products in circulation that currently display this Mark must adhere to the rules of the new Agreement within 12 months of its final publication.


2017-2020 National Plan for the Protection of Consumers Approved

A  supreme decree (No. 024-2017-PCM) has been published in the Official Gazette, approving the 2017-2020 National Plan for the Protection of Consumers—an instrument carried out by the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi) to implement the National Consumer Protection and Defense Policy. Indecopi is also charged with monitoring and evaluating compliance with the Plan, which could include an annual review and if appropriate, a proposal to the National Council for Consumer Protection to reform the Plan.

24 Technical Specifications for LED Lamps Approved

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has published Ministerial Resolution No. 108-2017-MEM/DM, approving 24 technical specifications for various LED lamps, including regular and globe LED lamps with built-in ballasts, and dichroic and tube types. The Ministerial Resolution went into effect following its publication in the Official Gazette.

Draft Modifications to Water Quality Standard Published

The Ministry of Environment has published a draft Supreme Decree that would modify the Environmental Quality Standard (ECA) for Water by: (i) clarifying Standard implementation mechanisms, adapted for each economic activity, to ensure that all Ministries have clear criteria to establish water quality parameters for the activities in their own sector, (ii)  correcting errors identified in the standard (i.e. parameter names and values), (iii) changing the focus of the parameter set for water used in the irrigation of agricultural fields to depend on the use of the agricultural product, and (iv) correcting gaps in the Standard’s coverage by incorporating water used for the irrigation of parks and sports fields. The draft modifications were developed by a Working Group comprised of different directorates of the Ministry of Environment in coordination with various stakeholders, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).