The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic issued Resolution No.1 of 2015, which established the Procedure for the Recovery of Recyclable Multi-materials with commercial value and which determines the obligation to segregate at the source the various types of waste resulting from extraction activities, processing of raw materials and consumption of goods and services.
Since its enactment in January 2015, all business entities, intermediaries, end users and the general public must initiate proper management of solid waste by separating the same into two blue containers and/or bags, one for inorganic and/or waste materials such as paper, plastic, cardboard, glass and metals and the other for the rest of the waste, such as kitchen and food waste, garden residue, among others.
The purpose of this norm is simply to promote the reuse of solid waste, which may be repurposed, thus avoiding the final disposition thereof in the country´s landfills. It also provides for separate recollection by the municipalities; and thus the latter are no longer allowed mixing multi-materials with the remaining waste so as to facilitate its recycling. Companies contracted by the municipalities, informal garbage diggers and intermediaries may also perform the separate waste recollection.
Regarding transportation, the approved procedure provides that once the waste is collected in a segregated manner, it is to be transported to an intermediate point, designated as a «clean or intermediate encounter point», for the treatment and management of solid waste or directly to the recycling company.
Assessment on how municipalities could implement this procedure for the selective collection of solid waste is outstanding. Indeed, deciding to undertake this major change in the field of solid waste management has been the challenge of cities in other parts of the world and their municipalities or councils. Although not explicitly established by the regulation, it is expected that the shift in paradigms will require the following:
- Establishment of a period of time to adapt collection vehicles;
- Renegotiation of contracts with solid waste collection enterprises;
- Making agreements with recycling cooperatives for their incorporation to the management of waste;
- Determining pre-established days for the collection of different types of waste –for example Tuesdays and Thursdays for recycling materials, and other days for organic waste–;
- An awareness and information campaign by sector on solid waste management;
- Imposition of sanctions upon infringement.
Until these issues are not defined, the implementation of the new system of selective collection may become more complex than expected.