On September 11th the Chamber of Representatives passed the bill on the Waste Management and Recycling Project that was presented by the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment (MVOTMA), through the National Environment Directorate (DINAMA), and had received prior approval from the Senate. The bill has not yet been enacted by the Executive Power.

The proposed Bill aims to protect the environment, in accordance with the provisions of Law No. 17.283, “promoting a model of sustainable development by preventing and reducing the negative impacts of the generation, management and all stages of waste management and recognition of its possibilities of generating value and employment”.

The abovementioned Law is modified in the first paragraph of Article 2. In this sense, the protection of the environment against any damage that may arise from the management and disposal of waste is declared of general interest, but it is added “throughout its entire cycle of lifetime”. The new wording aims to extend the declaration of general interest to the entire life cycle of waste.

The approved project also establishes the definition of many concepts, and particularly defines the "waste" or “residue”, equivalent term in the project, as any substance, materials or objects, that someone throws away or gives a final destination, or intends or is obliged to throw away or give final destination. The “waste generator” is defined as any natural or legal person, public or private, whose activity generates waste, either permanently, sporadically or eventually. Finally, it is important to highlight the definition of final destination as those actions that seek to reuse the waste, recycle it, or incorporate it into a recycling process or other forms of recovery, to treat it or proceed to its final disposal.

The regulation will be applied with respect to all kinds of waste, except radioactive and those generated in mining exploration or exploitation, when they can be managed at the site where the mining activity takes place.

The law defines 8 different types of waste:

A) Domiciliary: they are those that occur in homes, minor works or in small businesses derived from domestic and daily activities, unless they are wastes that have a specific regulation.

B) Cleaning of public spaces: those from the cleaning of streets and public roads, green or recreational areas and, in general, the sites that are for public use, carried out directly or indirectly by departmental or municipal services.

C) Of economic-productive activities: those generated by activities, public or private, of a commercial, administrative, services, agricultural production and industrial manufacturing nature, among others; except those generated in small establishments.

D) Sanitary: those generated by the attention to human or animal health centers and services.

E) Of construction works: those generated in the activities of construction, reform or demolition of construction sites, except those that are considered as household waste.

F) Contaminated soils: contaminated soils that are removed, are intended to be removed or are required to be removed from where they are located.

G) Sediments: sediments from dredging or similar activities, which require specific management due to the presence of contaminants or other causes.

H) Specials: are some types of waste that by their characteristics have a special regulation: a) packaging waste whatever their origin and function; b) batteries waste; c) electro-electronic waste; d) tires out of use; e) used oils; f) vehicles out of use; and, g) others established by the Executive Power.


The approved text imposes the general duty of all individuals, public or private entities to minimize the generation of waste and manage them properly and in compliance with the regulations. In this context, the approved project establishes the extended responsibility of any waste generator (whatever its type), for the management of the same at all stages, corresponding to the assumption of the costs for this, except for specifically established exceptions. The different operations that correspond to waste management may be carried out by duly authorized third parties, as clarified by the final paragraph of art. 7.


The project determines that the application of the law corresponds to the MVOTMA through DINAMA. In this sense, subsection 2 of article 21 of Law 17.283 is replaced and the need for MVOTMA to agree with the Departmental Governments on the measures to be applied to regulate all stages of waste until its final disposal is eliminated.

In the departmental order it is established that the Departmental Governments will maintain their competence in the matter of household waste, but the previous competition they had is modified and now they are responsible for transporting the waste generated by the cleaning of the streets and public spaces for recycling or other forms of assessment or treatment and final disposition. Likewise, the competition they had regarding household waste is modified, being the same now the collection of household waste and its transport, for recycling or other forms of recovery, treatment and final disposal.


Articles 11 to 13 establish the basis of the national waste management policy, providing a series of general and specific waste management guidelines.

In this sense, it is established that the national guidelines for waste management must follow a certain hierarchical scale where the minimization of generation at source is prioritized over any other alternative; in a subsidiary manner, the reuse and recovery of waste through recycling and other forms of recovery are promoted; and thirdly, that the treatment alternative and the final disposition be considered the last option.

Particularly in the area of household waste, specific guidelines should: promote the organization of household waste management by areas or regions, decrease in generation, segregation at source and selective collection. It is provided, particularly that all inhabitants are responsible for the proper segregation of waste within homes and other generation sites, as well as its proper delivery.

In order to encourage recycling, a series of measures are proposed, among which we can highlight the inclusion of the prioritization of the acquisition of nationally produced goods that incorporate recycled materials in public procurement.


Art. 26 ° establishes that in the manufacture and commercialization of food for human consumption, the reduction in the source of food losses, wastes and surpluses will be prioritized, through the improvement of their processing and manufacturing, as well as in the processes for its importation, deposit, distribution and commercialization, in order to change consumption and marketing patterns.

The activity of the waste classifiers would now be regulated by the Executive Power, without prejudice to the measures that may be taken at the departmental level. In this sense, it is determined that the Ministry of Labor and Social Security must create a registry of waste classifiers.


The approved project has several provisions referring to waste classifiers. Classifiers are considered those who have the collection and classification of waste as one of their main means of maintenance, whether they operate informally, are in the process of formalization within the framework of programs or public and private initiatives, or be part of formal self-managed initiatives.

The activity of the waste classifiers would now be regulated by the Executive Power, without prejudice to the measures that may be taken at the departmental level. In this sense, it is determined that the Ministry of Labor and Social Security must create a registry of waste classifiers.


The items considered by the “special products” project are the following: packaging waste whatever their origin and function; batteries; electronics; tires out of use; used oils; vehicles out of use; and others established by the Executive Power.

Art. 39 ° provides that only those individuals or legal entities that are duly registered in the respective records, which will be carried out by the MVOTMA, may manufacture or import products reached by the specific regulations related to the management of special waste.

In what has to do with the merchants and intermediaries of products reached by the regulations of special waste, including the packaging, they will be obliged to receive and accept the return and return of the products or packages once their useful life has ended. The characteristics and scope of this obligation will be determined by the Executive Power with its regulations.

For this type of waste, the extended responsibility of the manufacturer and importer is established, except in those cases in which the products from which the waste is generated are taxed with the Specific Domestic Tax (IMESI).

Likewise, it is established that the norms that regulate the extended responsibility of the manufacturer or importer for post-consumption waste will establish that the total costs of the management of the waste associated with the products are borne by the manufacturer and importer sector; being able to establish specific mechanisms to also distribute the costs with the allocation and commercialization sector.


Article 42 introduces modifications to the Specific Domestic Tax (IMESI) for certain products. Thus, it is determined that it will be taxed with a fixed rate per unit disposed of or by the rate set by the Executive Power with the maximums established by the regulation, as follows:

• Packaging, a fixed amount will be determined per alienated unit with a maximum of 10 Indexed Units per Kilogram.
• Disposable trays and boxes used to contain products.
• Plastic film.
• Cups, plates, cutlery, sorbets and other disposable tableware.
• Single-use plastic bags, including nylon “t-shirt” bags, regulated by law 19,655


It is established that importers and manufacturers of products placed on the market in non-returnable containers must minimize the volume and weight of said packages to the needs of product protection and marketing.

The Executive Power may restrict or prohibit the use of certain materials such as containers or packaging, or establish maximum volumes or weights for non-returnable containers.

Containers and packaging must be of materials that favor their reuse and recycling or made of biodegradable materials.


For the financing of this system, the law authorizes the Executive Power to establish an administration trust, which will be called the National Waste Management Fund (FONAGRES), in order to finance special waste management programs and support the improvement of waste management by departmental governments, applying the national waste policy. For the financing of the FONAGRES, the Executive Power is authorized to transfer a percentage of the funds collected by IMESI.


The final disposal of waste is defined as the alternative of the final destination (which, according to Article 3, are those actions that seek to reuse the waste, recycle it or incorporate it into a recycling process or other forms of recovery of its final disposal), by means of which the waste is placed, for its treatment or long-term deposit, in landfills designed and operated to avoid or minimize the impacts on the environment, including human health.

The MVOTMA is expected to establish the minimum conditions for the location, design, operation and closure of the final disposal sites. The final disposition may only be made in landfills that have an environmental authorization granted by the MVOTMA. If there is a final disposal site that does not have Environmental Authorization once the law enters into force, they will have a period of 3 years to adapt and obtain it.


Regardless of the authorizations or approvals that may be granted in accordance with this law and its regulations, natural or legal persons will always be responsible for the damages that waste management may cause to the environment, including human health.

Montevideo, September 2019