Mexican Hazardous Waste Generator

Instructions for Generators Concerning Hazardous Waste Return from Maquiladoras

Maquiladoras are companies that introduce their raw materials into the country under the Temporary Import Regime as well as those companies governed by Article 108 of the Customs Act (Ley Aduanera). These companies are required to return all hazardous materials and wastes generated by their production processes to the country of origin and incur liability if they violate this requirement.

The procedure consists of a Notice of Return (Aviso de Retorno) filed with Semarnat for hazardous waste generated from raw materials imported on a temporary basis. A notice must be filed for each type of and nature of waste and does not require an administrative decision.

Intervening in the waste return procedure are the Ministry of Communications and Transportation  (Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transporte--SCT), which verifies transporter compliance; the Ministry of Trade and Industrial Development (Secretaría de Comercio y Fomento Industrial--Secofi), which inspects temporary import permits, and the customs authorities.

All imports of RCRA hazardous waste must have EPA consent. Importers should complete and submit an import notice. Notifications should be created and submitted electronically using EPA's Waste Import Export Tracking System (WIETS). Paper notices are allowed to be submitted at this time, but importers may experience significant delays in the processing of such notices. In 2022 EPA transitioned from WIETS to RCRAInfo WIETS.

Applicable law:

Maquiladoras returning hazardous waste generated from temporarily imported raw materials must comply with the following Mexican provisions:

Customs Act (Ley Aduanera) Articles 108-112.

  • LGEEPA Article 153, paragraph VI.

  • Uniform Waste Prevention and Management Act, Article 94.

  • Regulation to the LGEEPA respecting Hazardous Waste, Article 55.

  • Mexican Official Standard NOM-052-Semarnat-1993. Establishing the characteristics of hazardous wastes and the list thereof as well as the threshold above which a waste is considered hazardous due to its toxicity in the environment.

  • Mexican Official Standard NOM 053-Semarnat-1993. Establishing the extractive testing procedure for determining the constituents making a waste hazardous due to its toxicity in the environment.

  • Decision announcing the administrative procedure for return of hazardous waste as well as the official form and instructions for completion (Diario Oficial de la Federación, 4 November 1998).

  • Clarification of decision announcing the administrative procedure for return of hazardous waste as well as the official form and instructions for completion published in the DOF on 4 November 1998 (Diario Oficial de la Federación del 26 de marzo de 1999).

  • Decision announcing the filings recorded in the Federal Registry of Company Filings (Registro Federal de Trámites Empresariales) applied by the Ministry of the Environment, Natural Resources, and Fisheries and its decentralized administrative bodies and establishing various regulatory improvement measures (Diario Oficial de la Federation, 21 February 2000).

  • Decision establishing the classification and codification of goods whose import and export are subject to regulation by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Diario Oficial de la Federación, 29 March 2002).

  • Annex III to the Agreement between the United States of America and the United Mexican States for the Protection and Improvement of the Environment in the Border Area, "Agreement of Cooperation Regarding the Transboundary Shipment of Hazardous Wastes and Hazardous Substances."

Notice of Return of Hazardous Waste

The Notice of Return includes complete information on the generator, a description of the waste (quantity, type, hazardousness characteristics, INE number, EPA code, type of management, important components, information in the event of accidents, special handling) as well as shipping information (customs exit point, transporter, INE authorization number, location, type of transportation, container type, capacity, physical condition, route to be followed). Semarnat may give notice of missing information, but if the information is complete it assigns a notice number to complete the procedure.

The procedure differs depending on whether the company is a first-time or repeat applicant.


1.    Notice of return of hazardous waste

  • Original must be signed.
  • For first-time and repeat procedures.
  • A notice of return must be filed for each type of hazardous waste and for each generator.

2.    Generator's proof of domicile

  • Must be a copy of a phone, electricity, water, or other bill.
  • Applies to first-time applicants.

3.    Sketch of shipping route from loading point to final destination, indicating main localities through which the shipment will pass.

  • Must be legible.
  • For first-time applicants only.
  • A new filing is required if there is a change in the route, the customs exit point, or the site from which the waste departs.

4.  Transporter's valid civil liability insurance policy covering damage to the environment and third parties occurred during transportation; if the company has similar insurance, Semarnat may consider this valid for the purposes of this obligation.

  • Include a copy of insurance policy.
  • In general, it is for each trucking unit.
  • It must be in the name of the transporting company or one must be filed in the name of the company returning the hazardous waste (exporter).
  • For first-time applicants.
  • For subsequent applications in which the transporting company is changed or a new transporter is added.

5. Authorization from the Ministry of Trade and Industrial Development (Secofi) under the Pitex or Maquiladora program, whichever applies

6. Emergency preparedness plan in the event of a spill during loading, transit, or unloading. A different plan is required for each type of incident.

  • For first-time applicants.

7. The information must be filed in original, copy, and on diskette.

Administrative procedure:

To fulfill the obligation to give notice of hazardous waste return, applicants must submit all required information and supporting documents.

The authority must request any missing information from the interested party within 3 working days.

Where it requests information, the interested party must supply the information within the 2 working days following notification thereof.

Once the notice is filed, assigned a number, and stamped received, the applicant must return the waste within 5 days.

Since the filing is merely a notice, it does not require a decision, only notification of missing information as applicable.

These criteria apply to evaluation, assignment of a registration number, and stamping of the Notice of Return as received, as well as for opening the company's file.

The filing is free of charge, so no attestation of duty payment is required.