On June 23, 2014, the State Law No. 6,805/2014 entered into force in Rio de Janeiro State, modifying the State Law No. 4,191/2013, also known as Solid Waste Policy of the State of Rio de Janeiro. Such new law adds, at state level, reverse logistics system in very similar terms to the already existent provisions at federal level by means of the National Solid Waste Policy - Federal Law No. 12,305/10.
According to such rule, manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of some listed products, such as batteries, tires, lubricating oils (including their packaging), fluorescents, sodium vapor lamps as well as mercury and mixed light bulbs, electronics and their components, agrochemicals (and their packaging) have to structure and implement reverse logistics system, which is a set of actions, procedures toward collection and return of products after consumer use to the corporate sector, regardless of public urban sanitation and solid waste management public services. Such obligation can be extended to products sold in plastic, metal or glass packaging or other packaging, considering their impact to public health and environment and generated waste, as well as the technical and economic feasibility of the reverse logistics system.
The reverse logistics system will be implemented and operationalized through the following instruments: regulation issued by the government, terms of commitment or sector agreement, which can be applied at state or municipal level. Note that national/federal sector agreements prevail over state agreements, which prevail over local ones. The institute of shared responsibility liability for products lifecycle is also provided by the rule, which includes, among other provisions, that the operators of public services of urban sanitation and solid waste management shall comply with activities established in sector agreements, implement composting solid organic waste system and execute the final disposal of waste arising from this same service.
Notwithstanding such provisions, which essentially reproduce the concepts already brought by the National Solid Waste Policy, we highlight the innovation brought by Article 22-E of such state law, which establishes the obligation of including additional information on products label. As the referred provision is not clearly stated in the federal system, we foresee a sensitive issue as it affects interstate commercial rules and may trigger further argument.
Lastly, it is important to mention that harmonization of the state law with the national policy may be subjected to future debates, considering the large quantity of federal rules and agreements under discussion during the last four (4) years. In this regard, we can expect debates and legal disputes on provisions established in state and municipal sector agreements whenever these agreements conflict with the provisions provided at federal level.