Action report from Brazil

【画像】Name of the Course: “Improvement of Solid Waste Management Technologies - Basic Technics”.
Period:May 12, 2014 to July 5, 2014.
Position: Environmental Analyst in Brazilian Ministry of Environment
Name: Mrs. VIOTTI, Marilia Moreira

Implementing reverse Logistics in Brazil

The Brazilian Solid Waste Policy-Law Number 12.305/2010 - was launched in August 2, 2010, bringing a set of principles, objectives and instruments that aim to address the increasing problems related to the urban wastes generation and poor management of these wastes. The Policy also sets forth directives relating to solid waste governance, including those of a hazardous nature, as well as the responsibilities of the waste generators.
One of the most important principles provided by the Law is the “shared responsibility for the product life cycle”. The application of this principle aims to ensure that manufacturers, importers, distributors, sellers, consumers and holders of public cleaning and solid waste management services will share the responsibility for properly managing the wastes originated from their production chain.
The reverse logistics system is the key mechanism to implement the principle of shared responsibility in accordance to Brazilian Solid Waste Policy. Such mechanism can be defined as a set of procedures that allow the wastes to be collected and transported back in supply networks to be reused, recycled and reintroduced in either the same supply chain or other chains.
According to the Brazilian Solid Waste Policy, one of these three ways can set up the reverse logistics systems: by regulation, by sectorial agreement or by term of commitment.
To implement the reverse logistic of fluorescent light bulbs in Brazil, the government chose to promote the signature of a sectorial agreement among manufacturers, importers, distributors and traders of these products aiming the implementation of the responsibility according to the product’s life cycle.
Such effort was justified not only by the need of properly managing wastes in general, but by the increasingly amount of mercury-containing light bulbs in Brazil(*1) which, if not properly handled, treated and disposed, can cause environmental and health damages to population.

My background as an Environment Analyst

Since very young, concerned/fascinated with Brazil´s great biodiversity, the legendary Amazon Rain Forest and other significant environmental features of my country, I decided to work in the environmental field
I studied Forest Engineering at the University of Brasilia and took a postgraduate course in Environmental Pollution Control. Working as a consultant for a governmental project, which targeted to estimate the amount of wastes from timber extraction and sawmilling in the Amazon region, I realized that wastes were an increasing problem in Brazil and decided to work with solid waste management.
Currently I am an Environmental Analyst at the Brazilian Ministry of Environment and member of the Ministry´s team working to put the Brazilian Solid Waste Policy into effect and, more specifically, with the implementation the reverse logistics in Brazil.

A remarkable experience

During my training course in Japan, I had unique experiences. The city base for my training was Osaka but, fortunately, my group visited many wastes treatment and recycling and final disposal facilities throughout the country, so I had the opportunity to visit other cities in Japan like Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Kitakyusho, Kobe and Kitami in the beautiful island of Hokkaido.
Japan astonished me from the very beginning of my journey. The courtesy and kindness of Japanese people caught my attention since my first hours in Japan. The Japanese people´s respect for their culture, the organization and cleanliness of urban spaces, and public facilities made me envious.
During my spare time, I took long walks around the places where I was accommodated. During these walks, even though my Japanese language skills were very limited, I was able to communicate thanks to the good will of the many people that I asked for help in the streets when I needed information.
I will always remember the day that a lady sitting beside me on a train to Kobe, interrupted her journey and got off the train just to place me in another train back to the station I had missed by mistake. She could not speak any English or Portuguese and I was too scared and couldn’t remember how to tell her that I was lost. The only thing I could say to her was the name of the station where I should have gotten off: “Nada”. She was so kind so thoughtful trying to talk to me, that I calmed down and went with her. She made me feel completely confident that everything was going to be fine. And it was. I reached my destiny safely and grateful.
I feel that, if I had the talent of an author, I could write a book about how much my experience in Japan was meaningful. I know, for sure, that I will keep Japan, Japanese people, Senseis, Jica personnel and my wonderful fellow colleagues, from seven different countries, forever in my heart.

The knowledge and the application of this precious tool

The ceremony of signature of the sectorial agreement for fluorescent light bulbs
Source/ photographer:Martim Garcia / MMA.

Source/ photographer:Martim Garcia / MMA.

I´ve acquire precious knowledge during my training in Japan. I visited sites, plants and facilities aimed at waste management, treatment and disposal that confirmed how Japan developed an efficient system to collect, transport, process and dispose wastes. Additionally, I was very impressed by the intermediary treatment methods like incineration, for example, and the way the disposal in landfills is performed preventing environmental pollution in the areas surrounding heavily populated cities.
Japanese society has increasingly become a material-recycle society generating less waste, reusing more and reducing the generated wastes. I’ve definitely learned a lot.
As part of my training, I presented an Action Plan entitled Awareness raising to implement reverse logistics, proper management and recycle of the Mercury-Containing Light Bulbs in Brazil.
Due to the efforts of a large group of individuals including representatives of government and business sectors, the sectorial agreement to implement the reverse logistics of these wastes in Brazil came into force on March 12, 2015. Now as mentioned above, the consumers, manufacturers, importers, distributors and traders of fluorescent light bulbs have the shared responsibility of the correct management of wastes coming from these products. Brazil still needs to strengthen its technological capacity to recycle and recover the valuable material coming from these wastes.
There is still a long way to enhance waste management in Brazil, but we are working together to improve the level of recycling and recovery of wastes in general.

*1 The electricity demand in Brazil grew faster in the two last decades. During some periods during these decades, Brazil had faced severe supply security concerns and consequently adopted stringent demand restriction measures such as the promotion of more efficient illumination devices with longer useful life. As an example, Brazil adopted legal measures to phase out incandescent light bulbs for general lighting in favor of more energy-efficient lighting alternatives.