Argentina

Submitted by Association for the Study of Solid Waste (non-governmental organization)
Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
1. Municipal solid waste
2. Industrial waste
3. Hazardous waste
Highest priority areas of capacity building
1. Institutional
2. Policy and regulatory
3. Social and financial
Narrative summary
Argentina (Association for the Study of Solid Waste)’s responses to the needs assessment survey suggest that institutional and legislative coordination in waste management is a key issue that needs to be addressed. Regarding municipal solid waste, a high priority waste stream, the lack of coordination has left municipal authorities with little support from provincial and national governments. The prohibition of the shipping of hazardous waste between provinces also results in mismanagement. Aside from the lack of coordination, the country also needs to address the lack of legislation in some waste streams, such as industrial and e-waste.

Municipal solid waste (MSW), including organic waste and waste plastics
In Argentina, 50% of MSW is organic waste and around 16% is plastic waste of different composition. MSW management needs further capacity building. Although regulations exist, they are not effectively implemented. There is also considerable overlap in regulations at national, provincial and municipal levels. However, municipal governments have the main responsibility with little support coming from provincial and national governments. Capacity building at municipal and provincial levels is needed. Municipalities spend a large part of their budgets on solid waste management. Specific user charges are often not established or if they are, municipalities encounter difficulties enforcing them. The informal sector plays an important role in waste management; however, there is little awareness of the topic among the broader public.

Hazardous waste, including healthcare waste
As with municipal solid waste, there is legislative overlap, which has led to overlap in responsibilities. Hence, there is a need to clarify responsibilities among administrative levels. Barriers to the shipping of hazardous waste across provinces pose a particular problem, as they often impede the adequate treatment and disposal of hazardous waste. For the treatment of healthcare waste, the use of certain technologies like incineration is prohibited; however, there are no clear guidelines regarding separation or recycling, which makes it difficult and risky for operators to deal with this waste stream. Training for operators needs to be enhanced to ensure their work safety. Also, in a lot of places, hazardous waste is indiscriminately disposed of, generating severe environmental and public health problems. Funding for environmentally sound disposal is missing as is financing to cover the environmental externalities of inadequate hazardous waste disposal. There is also a need to update the characterization of the toxicity of wastes.

Industrial waste
There is no specific regulation on industrial waste, which makes it difficult for waste managers to deal with this type of waste. Hence there is a need to develop a regulation on industrial waste. That way, coordination between the different authorities can be ensured and charges or taxes can be introduced to fund waste management services.

E-waste
Legislation on e-waste does not exist in Argentina although a project on establishing legislation on e-waste was initiated in 2005. However, the proposal lacks political support and has therefore not yet been passed. E-waste recycling is mainly done by informal waste workers, exposing them to serious health risks. No funding is available to formalize recycling activities or to finance technical solutions for e-waste management.

Waste agricultural biomass (WAB)
Legislation on waste agricultural biomass is not very strong in Argentina. Policies and funding for collection and treatment do not exist.