It is estimated that in Latin America and the Caribbean, there are about 4 million people who earn their living by recovering and selling recyclable materials such as paper, paperboard, plastic and metal.
Although these workers are the foundation of the recycling industry value chain, recovering between 50% and 90% of recyclable materials used by the industry or exported from the region, they only receive an estimated 5% of the earnings.
The Regional Inclusive Recycling Initiative (IRR) was born within this context in 2011. It was founded by the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN) and the Water and Sanitation Initiative by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Coca-Cola Latin America, Fundación Avina, the Red Latinoamericana de Recicladores (Red-LACRE) and PepsiCo Latin America.
The Regional Inclusive Recycling Initiative (IRR) was founded with the objective of improving waste pickers’ access to the formal recycling market in Latin America and the Caribbean by designing and implementing activities which allow us to:
- Improve the socioeconomic situation of waste pickers.
- Facilitate their access to the formal recycling market.
- Promote the creation of public policies for integrated waste management which include waste pickers.
Through these actions, the Regional Inclusive Recycling Initiative (IRR) would like waste pickers’ work to be recognized and valued by building a platform for multi-sector strategic alliances which will work as a space for dialog and action, thus increasing coordination capacity at the national and regional level between the government, the business sector and recycling organizations.