Central America

Costa Rica

On November 2, 2012, within the Framework of the Inclusive Recycling Study in Latin America and the Caribbean, the National Inclusive Recycling Workshop took place with national collaborators involved in this sector, including public sector representatives (national and municipal levels) and the private and academic sectors in Costa Rica. This taller confirmed the need to create effective inclusive recycling models in Costa Rica and the rest of the sub-region

During 2012 and 2013, the IRR supported an inclusive recycling pilot project in the municipality of Liberia to create a model which would be later replicated in other municipalities within the country. This project worked with the municipality’s waste pickers to create the Asociación de Recicladores de Liberia (ARELI) and develop a selective recollection system in conjunction with the municipal government. The project was implemented by the ACEPESA NGO in collaboration with ALIARSE.

In May 2013, the IRR shared this experience and the resulting inclusive recycling model created by public and private collaborators in the First National Recycling Congress organized by the Costa Rican Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Oceans (MINAE).


For several years now, PepsiCo and Cabcorp have worked together to create and strengthen the PET (polietilene tereftalato) value chain in different regions of Guatemala. During 2011 and 2012, the IRR contributed to the third phase of this initiative by working with different communities in Totnicapán to set up PET collection centers operated by community waste pickers organizations. After the intervention of the IRR, CBC and PepsiCo have continued with the work of communal recycling in the country.

The Inter-American Development Bank, through the Regional Initiative for Inclusive Recycling, organized a knowledge sharing workshop on organization for waste pickers working at the controlled land fill at Km 22 of the Ruta al Pacífico in Amatitlán Guatemala.

Additionally, in February 2012, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) started a complementary project to create an integral and sustainable program in solid waste management in the municipalities of Bluefields, Corn Island and El Rama. The expected results at the end of the project in 2017 will include the creation of a cooperative that collects solid waste.


The Regional Initiative for Strengthening the Nica Network (Red Nica) in Nicaragua was implemented. Its objective was to formalize and strengthen the national waste pickers’ movement in Nicaragua (Red Nica) and promote information exchanges with other Central American waste pickers. As a result, Red Nica was instituted as a legal entity in November 2012 and supported seven waste picking cooperatives in different Nicaraguan regions to regularize themselves.

Red Nica also carried out national exchanges among Nicaraguan waste pickers and a regional exchange among 50 Central American leaders which took place in Managua, Nicaragua during September 21-22, 2012, as part of this project. Red Nica continues to carry out this coordination work in Central America promoting the creation and strengthening of national waste pickers’ movements in Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador.

The IRR also suported the development of the inclusive recycling law. Nicaragua represents the first country in the region in which waste pickers participated in the development of recycling regulation.

Finally, in the beginning of 2016, the IRR started a strategic project, which is twofold: (1) monitoring the advancement in the regulation, and awareness-raising; (2) formalization and strengthening of the national movement and of the waste pickers organizations. Expected results include formalizing and strengthening 24 cooperatives, capacity building for 450 waster pickers, awareness-raising for 200 people, and the establishment of alliances between Red Lacre and national and municipal public institutions.


On August 15, 2012, within the framework of the Inclusive Recycling Study in Latin America and the Caribbean, the National Inclusive Recycling Workshop took place with national collaborators involved in this sector, including public sector representatives (national and municipal levels) and the private and academic sectors. The action guidelines developed during this workshop has served the IRR National Committee to guide the development of the Initiative activities in Mexico.

In addition, the project “Creating an Inclusive Recycling System in Torreón, Coahuila” (Creación de un sistema de reciclaje inclusivo en Torreón, Coahuila) was implemented by the nonprofit organization Mundo Sustentable with the support of Promotora Ambiental company, which provides IMSW services in the city. This project will allow to (1) incorporate into the formal inclusive recycling system 1,800 waste pickers, 4 companies, 100 mini Collection centres; and (2) formalize an agreement about the property and operation of the Centro Nodriza de Reciclaje de Torreón.

On May 15, 2014, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), the IRR and Cofemsa Foundation organized in Mexico City the “Inclusive Recycling and Social Entrepreneurs Forum” to share national and international experiences. Government representatives, social entrepreneurs and businesses were the main attendants.


In Panama, the “Guna Yala Solid and Recycling Waste” (Residuos Sólidos y Reciclaje de Guna Yala) project was implemented. This intervention seeks to improve the inclusive Management of solid waste in the Guna Yala islands, through the development of recycling routes in four communities, and the formalization of agremeents between the communal groups and recycling companies. The project will be benefitting approximately 2,000 people by 2016 through the generation of income from the sale of recyclable materials. This project is run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) alongside the National Environment Conservation Association (ANCON) and in conjunction with the Kuna Yala Research and Development Institute (IIDKY).

2 Responses to Central America

  1. Annette says:

    Felicidades por la iniciativa, en Panamá se necesita mucha educación sobre el reciclaje, yo vivo en La Chorrera y para reciclar tengo que viajar hasta la ciudad de Panamá a las ferias Yo reciclo, antes investigue sobre el reciclaje de mi distrito y me encontré con la difícil situación que lo único que se recicla acá es papel y cartón, para el plástico no me dieron seguridad. Me gustaría que se apoyara a los recicladores de este sector del país y a la educación sobre el reciclaje porque lamentablemente la gente desconoce o tiene poco interés sobre el tema.

    • Iniciativa Regional de Reciclaje Inclusivo says:

      “Buen día, agradecemos tu mensaje y el interés que muestras por mejorar las condiciones de los recicladores. Existen más de 4 millones de personas en América Latina y el Caribe que se ganan la vida recuperando materiales reciclables son percibidas como un “problema social”, y cuyo trabajo no es reconocido ni valorado. Con tu apoyo y difundir la importancia de su inclusión, este “problema” en una oportunidad de desarrollo para los recicladores, contribuiremos al impacto positivo en el sector del reciclaje de la región.
      Te invitamos a visitar nuestra web https://reciclajeinclusivo.org/recicladores/

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