On January 12, 2022, the Federal Government published the PNRS regulations - Decree No. 10,936/22, whose main objective is to modernize and gain efficiency in the country's treatment of waste, demanding transparency in waste management from the public and private sectors.
With mandatory inverse logistics, companies will have to rethink their production strategy, logistics, and durability of products, and even communication with their customers, expanding the foundation for education aimed at conscious consumerism and circular economy.
The importance of waste management
The regulations on solid waste management have grown significantly since 2010 in Brazil, with the National Solid Waste Policy (PNRS) as a legal framework that provides incentives for the implementation of Circular Economy.
This is because it helps understand the impacts of the production process, not only in the use of raw materials, but also at the end of the life cycle for products consumed in the market. With instruments that establish a hierarchy of activities and priority for the prevention and reduction of waste generation, it promotes the concept of circular design. It also clearly values the pillars of Circular Economy in its orientation:
- Prioritize non-generation;
- Develop means for reduction;
- Environmental rational final disposal.
This legal framework supports cities’ transition process to a circular economy model, as it creates circular disposal mechanism for this waste, which allows for the development of new businesses and the reduction in demand for natural resources. Moreover, it stimulates a new more sustainable way of thinking about society.
This concept determines that manufacturers, importers, distributors, sellers, consumers, and public solid waste management and trash collection services are responsible for the life cycle of their products. The shared responsibility is applied both individually and throughout the chain. That is, when producing and selling a product, the company is not exempt from responsibility for its impact at the end of its life cycle.
For a country of continental proportions, the importance of a policy focused on inverse logistics represents a strategic element that favors the creation of reception, treatment, and distribution centers. This helps reduce the fundamental logistical obstacles to the expansion of a circular economy.
Therefore, one important tool is an instrument for the coordination and integration of inverse logistics systems in order to help achieve results across the different systems implemented or in process across the country. It is also important to improve communication with citizens regarding voluntary drop-off points for the adequate disposal of waste, which ensures traceability of materials.
The regulations on the PNRS were an important legislative milestone for Brazil to continue moving forward in its actions aimed at circularity. However, one of its greatest potentials is to expand the notion of society consumption and circularity of materials.