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New Waste-Management Law brings Egypt closer to going Green

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Due to the constant global and local struggle of keeping up with the problem of waste management, the Egyptian legislator has enacted the new Waste Management Law. This is a first in Egypt.

On 13 October 2020, the Law No. 202 of 2020 promulgating the new Waste Management Law (the “New Law”) was published in the Official Gazette and entered into force on the following day. The New Law is intended to implement several procedures aimed at managing waste and monitoring all processes related thereto. The New Law also aims at improving safe waste management methods for all kinds of waste, whether toxic or non-toxic, and to encourage investment in the various waste management services such as collection, transportation, treatment of disposal of different kinds of waste and recycling.

We guide you through the key highlights of the legislation as follows:

Incentives for Businesses in the Waste Management Sector

The New Law aims at stimulating growth in the waste-management business sector. In this regard, any company whose primary object is Waste Management will benefit from the same investment incentives and guarantees provided under the Investment Law No. 72 of 2017 and any expenses borne by companies whose object is the exercise of waste management activities will be deemed tax-deductible expenses in accordance with the Income Tax Law No. 91 of 2005.

The New Law also established the Waste Management Regulatory Agency. The latter is tasked with creating the national plan for combating environmental pollution through waste management, among its duties is encouraging businesses in the waste management sector by stipulating encouraging prices for compostable materials and alternative fuels in coordination with the relevant ministries and concerned entities.

How to Carry Out Waste Management Activities Professionally

In order to carry out any waste management activities professionally, one must obtain the necessary licenses from the Waste Management Regulatory Agency. The prerequisites and process for such licenses will be outlined in the New Law’s Executive Regulation (“ER”) which is expected to be promulgated six months from the date of the New Law’s entry into force. Any person who exercises waste management activities in a professional capacity without proper licensing will bear a fine of no less than EGP 100,000 and no more than EGP 1 million.

Noteworthy Provisions for Persons Whose Business Activities Generate Waste

In line with the New Law’s spirit in reducing waste and encouraging alternative waste management methods, the New Law stipulates that any person whose activities result in the production of waste must exercise due effort in order to decrease the production of waste, incentivize re-use when appropriate, guarantee recycling and waste management in a way that decreases harm to the public health and the environment. Whoever’s business results in the generation of waste, or possess such waste is responsible for its safe and complete management.

It should be highlighted that the New Law also bans the burning of any waste in the open air. The penalty for violating such provision is punishable by one-year imprisonment and a fine of no less than EGP 50,000 and no more EGP 1,000,000.

With respect to construction works, the New Law states that any party that intends to carry out construction works must coordinate with an authorized entity to undertake management of the waste resulting from any such project.

The New Law also obliges persons who carry out industrial activities to keep an industrial waste register that is periodically updated. The New Law entrusted the Industrial Development Authority in coordination with the Waste Management Regulatory Agency to follow up on such registers.

The Waste Management Regulatory Agency in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry are to enforce the “Green Symbol” system which is aimed at encouraging manufacturers to increase the use of recyclable materials and limiting industrial waste in their products. The ER will determine the conditions and specifications needed for products to be eligible for the aforementioned “Green Symbol”.

The New Law also targeted the production of single-use plastic. The production, importation or exportation of single-use plastic will be regulated by a further decree issued by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, bearing in mind that the production, importation or exportation of the single-use plastic may be banned if the components thereof are harmful and cause damage to the environment. On the other hand, the New Law provides that a financial, economic and customs exemption system will be put in place to incentivize those who will import, produce and manufacture eco-friendly alternatives for single-use plastic.

In a nutshell, the New Law is a great leap forward in terms of environmental preservation as it provides benefits for persons undertaking waste management activities and strict penalties for whoever violates its mandatory provisions as a means of alleviating the effects of the current environmental deterioration.

Market Reaction

The Minister of the Environment, Dr. Yasmine Fouad, stated that the promulgation of the New Waste Management Law is a great achievement which is a result of institutional and legislative support for a new system of waste management. Dr. Fouad also added that the Ministry of Environment, within its planning, regulatory and supervisory role in the new waste management system, has paid special attention to creating a supportive atmosphere for the system to ensure its success and achieve its desired goals.