News Releases

Oct 23, 2013

Regional initiative invests more than $8 million to improve conditions for recyclers in Latin America

  • With an investment of $8.4 million and activities undertaken in 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries, the Regional Initiative for Inclusive Recycling (IRR), launched by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, the IDB’s Water and Sanitation Initiative, the AVINA Foundation and the Coca-Cola Company, seeks to include informal recyclers’ collectives in formal recycling value chains.
  • In order to define new projects, the IRR and Accenture present the study “Inclusive Recycling in Latin America and the Caribbean,” which looks at the informal recycling sector in the region. The study was undertaken in 15 countries and will allow the initiative to define new projects aimed at including informal recyclers in the formal recycling market.

Two years after it was established, the Regional Initiative for Inclusive Recycling (IRR), a joint project of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, the IDB’s Water and Sanitation Division, the AVINA Foundation and the Coca-Cola Company, presented its activities assessment report at a meeting with the Global Alliance for Recycling and Sustainable Development (GARSD), at which it showed its ongoing work to improve living standards and the perception of recyclers in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as integrate them into the formal recycling market.

Since its creation in 2011, the Regional Initiative for Inclusive Recycling has implemented programs and projects in 12 of the region’s countries with a budget of $8.4 million. This work is based on three key areas of action: improving the socioeconomic situation of recyclers; supporting local and federal governments in developing inclusive public policies; and improving the role of the private sector and integration into the value chain.

Through strategic projects such as training and formalizing recyclers, creating tools to help the inclusion process, spreading information on good practice, and publicity events and activities, over two years the IRR has secured the participation of 6 companies that will co-invest in strategic projects which will benefit 2,600 recyclers in 20 municipalities in the region, train 260 recyclers and 270 municipal public servants; and carry out regional and national events in which approximately 250 people have participated.

According to Jane Olley, coordinator and regional spokesperson for the Regional Initiative for Inclusive Recycling, “The IRR seeks to work with recyclers, local and federal levels of government and the private sector to generate dignified work which is economically viable for recyclers, promote sustainable development and integrate this sector into the formal waste management market.”

The IRR and Accenture present the study “Inclusive Recycling in Latin America and the Caribbean”In order to obtain a deeper understanding of the informal recycling sector and thus improve future projects, the IRR and Accenture undertook a study of “ Inclusive Recycling in Latin America and the Caribbean, ” which examines the sector in 15 countries (Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Haiti, Costa Rica, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile). The result is an exhaustive analysis and reconstruction of the recycling value chain with regards to regulatory, organizational and market aspects.The study’smain conclusionsinclude:

  • Informal recyclers are key players in the recycling sectorin all of the 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries studied. It is therefore necessary to consider inclusive development of the sector to dignify the recycling profession and improve its social status.
  • There are large disparities in the regulations surrounding recyclers. In countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Peru, recycling activities have a certain level of formal recognition and the biggest challenge is the practical application of these regulations. In other countries, such activity continues to be unregulated. However, improvements in developing the legal framework in various countries suggest that the regional tendency leans towards greater inclusion of the sector.
  • The lack of training for recyclers puts them at a disadvantage when compared with other players in the value chain and therefore does not maximize potential exploitation of recycling.Continued support, either directly or through a third sector, of recyclers’ efforts to organize, train and formalize themselves in the regionis needed.
  • There is significant weakness in the materials transformation market,which is exacerbated by poor distribution, low volume of industrial plants and a scarcity of companies with adequate knowledge and experience in the sector. 

The IRR encourages you to learn more about its cause and show your support at www.reciclajeinclusivo.org Finally, as part of presenting its new strategy to face the future, the Regional Initiative for Inclusive Recycling launched its new website, http://reciclajeinclusivo.org and social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare, Flickr, YouTube and Google+. These channels will allow the IRR to communicate directly with its main target audience: recycling associations, NGOs, companies, governments and the media; as well as share its progress, achievements and future projects.

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