EPR and circular economy initiatives in Latin America
by Rachel Langhill at 17:04 in Circular Economy, Emerging, Environmental, Packaging
This blog is part of a wider series from Lorax EPI, taking a deep dive into the current and future landscapes for packaging extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations on a global scale.
Currently, EPR legislation in Latin America is in its early stages. Some countries have passed EPR framework, allowing for more formal regulations to be introduced, but still lack any progress toward legal implementation. Other countries require producers to register with a governing body and submit EPR plans, but collective schemes and fee schedules are still under development. This post will take a look at some of the latest EPR progress in Latin America.
A new packaging EPR decree was recently published, which establishes an obligatory recycling rate for producers and recyclers to meet. The deadline for submitting individual or collective management plans is next year in 2022, and so far 25 producers across different industries have proposed a collective scheme: SIGENEM – Container and Packaging Management System. More implementing regulations are expected to come through later this year.
Since 2017, producers in Chile have been obligated to annually declare volumes of materials put onto the market to the Register of Emissions and Transfer of Contaminants. It is expected that, beginning in 2024, producers will also be obligated to meet recycling targets by joining a scheme and paying a contribution.
Chile is also a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's global Plastics Pact network, with a set of ambitious, voluntary 2025 targets to:
- Eliminate unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging and single-use utensils
- Design all plastic containers and packaging to be 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable
- Increase plastic reuse, recycling and composting rates to 33%
- Incorporate 25% recycled content into plastic packaging
A packaging EPR law passed in Venezuela in November 2020 and came into force in January 2021. It requires producers of packaging made from single-use paper, plastics and glass to register with the Ministry of Ecosocialism (MINEC). Producers must also submit individual or collective EPR plans and begin paying fees to the ministry based on the quantity and types of packaging materials put onto the market.
Packers, fillers and importers of packaged products in Colombia are also required to submit individual or collective waste management plans to the National Environmental Licensing Authority for approval. Producers must also meet reuse targets for waste packaging from 2021 and geographic coverage targets from 2022.
Currently, producers in Brazil are obligated by the 'Sector agreement to implement a reverse logistics system for general packaging', which requires them to:
- Invest in waste management cooperatives or entities representing them, such as ANCAT – the influential association of (informal) waste pickers,
- Sign contracts with retailers and waste management systems to establish voluntary collection points, and
- Inform consumers about proper ways to return packaging materials to facilitate their recycling.
However, this does not classify as an official EPR scheme as there is no necessary reporting or fee contribution to be paid. Rather, this agreement focuses on public education and take-back obligations without mandatory reporting.
There is also a proposal for a voluntary industry-wide EPR agreement through an initiative called ReCircular. If producers opt to join, they agree to work towards targets to be established for recycling, reusability and recycled content incorporation.
Lorax EPI, along with Valoryza, will be presenting a session at the first-ever Sustainability in Packaging Latin America conference on 12 August. We will discuss the current and future landscapes of environmental packaging and EPR regulations on a global scale, with a focus on Latin American countries.
EPR regulations come with packaging compliance and reporting, which can become rather difficult when so many countries in one region have such varying levels of implementation. Lorax EPI offers a comprehensive service, using our in-house, cloud-based software, which relieves the reporting burden for companies that have EPR obligations. We maintain detailed records of the reporting requirements of compliance schemes around the world and work with businesses to ensure that all EPR reports are submitted correctly and on time.
If you are interested in learning more about our software and reporting services, please contact us to talk to one of our consultants today.
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