Uruguay Launches 10-Year National Waste Management Plan

Uruguay’s new National Waste Management Plan was publicly launched on 7 October 2021, overall seeking to reduce waste streams destined for landfills, while also determining landfill closure and the installation of sanitary landfills. PAGE supported the design of the country’s new comprehensive plan, which has a ten-year scope and incorporates environmental, economic and social aspects. Its fundamental goals include the protection of the environment and the promotion of a sustainable development model, through the prevention and reduction of the negative impacts of waste generation, management and all stages of waste management.  

This is the first time Uruguay will have a national plan with these characteristics implicating a fundamental shift with commitments to separate collection, correct classification, increased recycling and recovery as resources. Strategies are identified in the Plan for differentiation according to the types of waste (household, industrial, hospital, technological, among others). 

The Plan was developed through a participatory process, which included municipalities, professionals in the field, civil society organizations, associations and business chambers. With goals set for throughout the next 10 years, this Plan will have a mid-term review after 5 years, including the objective of "ZERO open-air landfill by 2025". 

The Plan also includes the concept of extended producer responsibility, meaning the responsible party — who generates, produces, or imports the waste — is the one who must generate the channels for its return. Further developments on the educational aspects of waste management are also planned. A set of opportunities for the development of new businesses have also been laid out, aiming for fairer and more inclusive development in this sector.