1. A Brief Introduction to the Zero-Waste Regulation

The Zero Waste Regulation, published in the Official Gazette numbered 30829 and its provisions regarding the zero waste certificate entered into force six months after its publication and the other provisions entered into force on its publication date which was 12 July 2019, aims to ensure waste management within the scope of sustainable development goals, increase the efficiency of resource use, and protect the environment and human health

. With both national and international regulations, it is aimed to ensure the transition to a circular economic order based on the principle of “produce, use, recycle, reuse”, and the zero waste implementation constitutes an important pillar of this transformation. Within the scope of the Zero Waste Regulation, local administrations, public institutions and organizations, organized industrial zones, industrial facilities, airports and ports, business centers and commercial plazas, educational institutions and dormitories, health institutions, chain markets, and terminals are obliged to establish a waste management system within the scope of the mentioned regulation. The Regulation stipulates different dates for each business group to ensure the transition to the system, and the first transformation process ended on 01.06.2020, and public institutions and organizations must have fulfilled their obligations to establish a waste system by this date. What is the zero waste principle? The zero-waste principle is a system that aims to protect the environment and human health and all resources by preventing or reducing waste generation in production, consumption, and service processes, giving priority to reuse, collecting the wastes separately at the source, and reducing the amount of waste to be sent for disposal by ensuring recycling and/or recovery. Therefore, in accordance with this principle, enterprises are obliged to reduce the wastes generated in their production processes and, if possible, to prevent waste generation and to ensure the reuse of wastes.

  1. What are the Rules to be Complied with in order to Prevent the Generation of Waste or to Reduce the Waste in the Circumstances where it is not Possible to Prevent it?

The primary objectives of the enterprises that are obliged to establish the zero-waste method or that voluntarily establish this system should be to prevent the generation of waste as a result of their production and service processes and, if this is not possible, to ensure that the amount of waste that will be generated is kept at a minimum level. It is also very significant to ensure that the waste that will be generated is reusable if the generation of waste cannot be prevented. In this context, enterprises are primarily responsible for ensuring the sustainability of the products and services that they produce, developing durable production and consumption models, designing repairable or reusable and improvable products, and for producing and using such kinds of products. If there is an alternative within the scope of the zero waste principle, single-use and disposable type products should not be used and reusable products should be preferred instead of these products. Especially in order to prevent food waste, food waste prevention plans should be prepared and the supply chain should be established according to these principles.

  1. What are the Amendments Made to the Zero Waste Regulation on 09.10.2021?

With the “Regulation Amending the Zero Waste Regulation”, published in the Official Gazette dated 09.10.2021 and numbered 31623; local administrations and other enterprises, which are obliged to establish a zero-waste system, have been made obliged to notify the waste information collected for the previous month through the zero waste information system until the fifteenth day of each month and to collect and retain the information and documents based on these notices by controlling the previous year’s data until March of each year. Prior to this amendment, local administrations and other obliged parties were obliged to provide information on their waste only twice a year, in January and July of each year. Certain amendments have been made also to the list of the enterprises which are obliged to establish a waste system within the scope of the published Regulation, and laboratories, law offices, associations, cooperatives, environmental consultancy firms, professional organizations, and organizations with a legal entity, cargo companies with more than fifty employees, cafes and restaurants over 400 square meters and places selling packaged products have been included in the scope of the 4th group of enterprises, and these enterprises have been made obliged to establish a zero-waste management system in their structure until 31.12.2022. With the amendment made, chain markets have been made obliged to establish collection points in easily visible and accessible places for the separate collection of non-hazardous paper, glass, metal, plastic waste and if sold, batteries, household electrical small appliances or textile wastes, and the shopping centers have been made obliged to establish collection points where consumers can leave their wastes.

  1. Conclusion

In order to ensure waste management, which is of great importance in the transition to a circular economic order and in the protection of the environment and human health, expanding the scope of obligations and expanding the list of enterprises responsible for the transition to zero waste system is a very affirmative development for ensuring green transformation. It was expected that these developments would gain a great momentum following the ratification of the Paris Agreement by our country. Since, in order to ensure the environmental obligations and efficient use of resources stipulated by the Paris Agreement, it is of great importance to expand the implementation area of the zero waste principle and to integrate it into business processes. In this context, the inclusion of many enterprises located at different points in the production of goods and services in this system can be considered as an important development in order to combat the climate crisis on a national scale.