RL Magazine
Reverse Logistics as a Legal Demand in Brazil: The New Solid Waste Act
by André Luiz Pereira

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In Brazil, at 2008, only 27.7% of the cities surveyed laid their Solid Waste in sanitary landfills¹. Nearby 22.5% of the cities deposited trash in controlled landfills, and 50.8% intended to discard it in open dumps. The majority of municipal solid waste collected in the Brazilian cities do not receive adequate final destination, being dumped in non- ruled dumps without treatment nor receiving inhibitory pollutants effects neutralization ².

Reverse Logistic must be a prerogative in Brazil, as strategy to deals with the amounts of waste. Reverse logistic can also improve Brazilian competitiveness, as part of a way to upgrade the quality of products produced there.

The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (2010) defines Reverse logistic as “A specialized segment of logistics focusing on the movement and management of products and resources after the sale and after delivery to the customer. Includes product returns for repair and/or credit”³. According to Rogers and Timber-lembke, Reverse logistic is the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, cost effective flow of raw materials, in-process inventory, finished goods and related information from the point of consumption to the point of origin for the purpose of recapturing value or proper disposal. By that, the new Brazil’s solid waste act – which sets the legal basis for reverse logistic - is discussed. It’s called, in a literal translation “Nation Policy on Urban Solid Waste”.


Since the 1968 General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), many discussion of the human environment and their solutions are mentioned. August 2nd, 2010 was a milestone in waste management in Brazil: was approved the law 12,305, which rules the Solid Waste Act. The model of waste management which is established in the country resembles many foreign experiences and brings the reverse logistic to the forefront.

After then, the issue of waste in Brazil, according to the legal responsibilities of the actors involved was a complex and difficult matter to define. Now the government, companies and society are formally responsible for all “waste chain” and its consequences. This relationship is not required just to outsourcing solutions or allocation to third parties providers, except in the case of home generators, which is a progress.

The reverse logistic became a national prerogative, requiring manufacturers, importers, distributors and marketers of certain products to develop actions, procedures and means to facilitate the collection and recovery of manufacture waste, for reuse in their economic cycle or productive cycles and different environmentally appropriate disposal. The major group related to reverse logistics supply chain nodes are, according to the “Nation Policy on Urban Solid Waste”:

Pesticides, their waste and packaging as well as other products whose packaging after use, may be considered hazardous waste, ruled by hazardous waste management provided by law or ruled in standards set by government or technical standards;

  1. Batteries;
  2. Tires;
  3. Lubricating oils, their waste materials and packaging;
  4. Fluorescent lamps, sodium vapor and mercury and mixed lighting;
  5. Electronic products and its components
The definition of reverse logistics expressed in the law extends this original law scope. It is believed that with the increase of technological options for recycling and processing available in the country, the above list may be expanded in a near future. The list does not limit the products that can be part of reverse logistic, just express the first focus.

With the creation of the reverse logistics database systems (inventories, declaratory annual solid waste system, the National Information Systems, registers and licenses databases), it will be possible in the future to have many waste information, facilitating the creation of eco-efficiency parks in which waste from one company become primary material for another organization and there is an industrial symbiosis.

The state assumes an important role by encouraging the formation of rearrangements which integrates the waste management mentioned above. Among the instruments stand out as tax incentives, financial and credit in the tax field, the scientific and technological research, in cooperatives to promote recycling and other forms of reuse, in health, environmental and agricultural sectors, the resources of the National environmental, scientific and technological development, the importance of continuing education and training; in providing credit lines for infrastructure projects, recycling, reverse logistics, decontamination of contaminated areas and others. Therefore reiterates its role of acting besides in minimizing the harm resulting from the disposal of waste without exempting those responsible for the damage fully reimbursing the government for the expenses arising from actions taken.


  1. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. 2008. Pesquisa Nacional de Saneamento Básico - 2008. Brasília: IBGE.
  2. Cunha, Valeriana; Filho, José Vicente Caixeta. 2002. Gerenciamento da coleta de resíduos sólidos urbanos: estruturação e aplicação de modelo não-linear de programação por metas. Gestão & Produção, v.9, n.2, p.143-161, ago.
  3. Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP). 2010. Supply chain and logistics terms and glossary, 2010. Available at < http://cscmp.org/digital/glossary/document.pdf >
  4. Rogers DS, Tibben-Lembke RS. 1998. Going Backwards: Reverse Logistics Trends and Practices. Reverse Logistics Executive Council: Reno, Nevada.
Andre is Mastering in administration, studying reverse logistics. Works in the Minas Gerais Health Department State – Brazil, in matters related to accreditation and Health Services Waste. Conducts researches in reverse logistics at Fumec University. André is also responsible for the website www.logisticareversa.net.br
Contact: andre@logisticareversa.net.br.

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