Studies

This study is part of a set of two case studies that analyze how the pioneer model “Ecoelce”, a program created in 2007 by the power operator company Coelce in the State of Ceara in Brasil, was adapted in the State of Rio de Janeiro as “Ecoampla”. This model introduces a bonus system offering customers a discount in their electricity bill for participating in ther community recycling scheme. In this way, it facilitates access to energy services for low income populations.

The study analyzes the impact of model application looking at two key issues: (1) Formal and affordable access to energy; and (2) Inclusión of recyclers in the recycling value chain. Key lessons for strengthening these schemes and their replication in other contexts are identified.

This study is part of a set of two case studies that analyze how the pioneer model “Ecoelce”, a program created in 2007 by the power operator company Coelce in the State of Ceara in Brasil, was adapted in the Metropolitan Area of Santiago in Chile as “Ecochilectra”. This model introduces a bonus system offering customers a discount in their electricity bill for participating in ther community recycling scheme. In this way, it facilitates access to energy services for low income populations.

The study analyzes the impact of model application looking at two key issues: (1) Formal and affordable access to energy; and (2) Inclusión of recyclers in the recycling value chain. Key lessons for strengthening these schemes and their replication in other contexts are identified.

This publication presents the results of a base line study of inclusive recycling and grassroots recyclers in Ecuador.

The study seeks to gain a greater understanding of the situation of individuals and families that work in groups and associations collecting and selling solid waste in the recycling market; of the productive recycling sector, their relation with government institutions, the commercialization and agreements with the private sector players within the recycling industry, and their connections with the main generators of solid waste.

Finally, the study issues a set of recommendations in the following three dimensions: regulation, economy or market, and social organization.

Through this study, the description and diagnosis of the recycling industries in Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Haiti, Costa Rica, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile were developed. This will allow the Regional Inclusive Recycling Initiative (IRR) to define clear strategies for creating new projects.

The main conclusions of this study are the following:

  • There are two types of countries: those that already have some level of recognition towards waste pickers and their work (including Brazil, Peru and Colombia) and others where this activity is still not legally recognized.
  • Although we have seen progress in waste picker organizations at the local, national and regional level, the capacity of these organizations is still much lower than the desirable level and is characterized by conflict among its members, between its members and non-affiliates and with the other participants in the value chain.
  • This highlights the impact of weak national waste transformation markets, which is aggravated by the scattered distribution and low volume of industrial plants and the scarcity of knowledgeable companies with appropriate experience.
  • All countries have gained experience and opportunities for improvement to bring them closer to the optimum reference model in which recycling can be truly inclusive. We need intervention proposals oriented towards promoting the organization and recruiting waste pickers to obtain their professional certification, community education and awareness campaigns, among others.
  • We propose inclusive strengthening of the sector by gradually building and negotiating an emerging waste management model in which the following entities are mutually benefitted:
    • Public institutions and their environmental, health and social objectives
    • Waste generating and transforming companies and their corporate social responsibility and operative profitability objectives.
    • Waste pickers who participate and have a voice to directly influence the configuration of this emerging model.


For eight decades, a considerable percentage of the world’s poor have dedicated themselves to recycling and recovering materials they find in waste produced everyday by society. This work generates very positive impacts, however lack of knowledge within organizations which have arisen from this trade, affects female workers in this area, as these organizations forget it was these women who started the work in this field.

The Gender Guide is a tool to support the creation of spaces for women to participate in recycling and materials recovery processes and seeks for their participation to be valued. It is focused on actions which improve women’s living standards. The improvements produced by recycling projects empower women to expand their formal access to markets.


In all big Latin American and Caribbean cities, there are people whose livelihood and main source of income lies in the informal recollection, separation and trade of recyclable materials.

The IRR has developed an Operations Guide which seeks to assist professionals and decision makers with preparing and implementing inclusive plans for these informal waste pickers who work at sites of final disposition of solid waste. Its objective is to maintain or increase their wages using an improved work conditions framework.


2 Responses to Studies

  1. Marco says:

    Hola!.

    Quisiera saber como puedo acceder al informe completo, o el apartado de los resultados, del estudio “Caracterización del sector informal del reciclaje en américa latina y el caribe”

    Saludos!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *