In the period 2010-2014, the IRR carried out a project to organize and formalize waste pickers in the communities of Santa Cruz, Sucre and Montero. This project was supported by FOMIN and executed by the Citizens’ Participation and Poverty Relief Foundation (FPAP). It resulted in the creation of two waste pickers associations and training for 120 waste pickers. A selective recollection scheme called “Waste Picker’s Friend” (Amigo del Recolector) was created and 36 private companies now participate.
As part of this project’s framework, the municipality of Montero built a collection center to be operated by the local waste picking organization. As a follow up investment to this project, the IRR invested in load motorcycles for three associations belonging to the Santa Cruz Waste Pickers’ Network. This resulted in a 100% increase in productivity of the associations that were involved.
In 2011, two events took place in the municipalities of Chiquitania and Valles Cruceños to train 135 government representatives from around 30 municipalities in planning and ISWM implementation.
In 2009, the Bogota Recycling Association (ARB) initiated the implementation of a project with the support of the IRR, the MIF and the IDB Water and Sanitation Division. The project strengthened 22 waste pickers organizations in Bogota. As a result of this project, 18 organizations comply with the legal operating requirements for ISWM service providers, and 15 organizations established recyclable materials trade networks and signed selective recyclable waste recollection contracts with 51 large solid waste generators.
In August 2012 and as a response to the request of the Colombian Federal Government, the IRR organized a workshop for the inclusion of the recycling population in a new public policy for solid waste management. During this workshop, delegates from Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina had the opportunity to exchange ideas and share their experiences in the development and implementation of national and municipal ISWM public policies, which include waste pickers. The workshop allowed the generation of a set of guidelines for the Colombian Government on how to develop the national policy.
An additional project was implemented to promote the recognition and institutionalization of the inclusive recycling in Colombia (2014-2017). Through this project, the IRR supported and accompanied the creation of the National Alliance for Inclusive Recycling, which is a multisectoral alliance conformed by the government, industry organizations, and other organizations such as Avina Foundation. The IRR together with the implementing organization CEMPRE has also supported the development of tools and ISWM plans in the municipalities of Popayan, Valledupar and Bucaramanga, in which seven waste pickers organizations participated.
Other lines of work in Colombia include processes to improve information systems; the creation of the Observatory for National Recycling; training and support to waste pickers organizations in their formalization processes; workshops such as the international workshop of product extended responsibility (February 2015) in which 69 participants shared and learned about experiences in Europe and other parts of the world , including Latin America (workshop led by Reclay Stewardage).
The IRR provided technical assistance to the Ecuadorian National Waste pickers Network (RENAREC) for waste pickers from 9 municipalities (Quito, Loja, Cuenca, Esmeraldas, Atacames, Ambato, Guaranda, Santa Elena and La Libertad). They were trained and received technical assistance to establish agreements with local governments and train 252 waste pickers on topics identified in conjunction with them, such as development of agreements with local governments.
Additionally, the IRR supported RENAREC in the development of their communications plan for a better positioning in the country. This resulted in the realization of the first workshop in March 2015, which was attended by the president of Ecuador, and in the signing of an inter-institutional cooperation (RENAREC, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion, and the Institute of Popular Solidarity Economy).
In 2015, the IRR completed the baseline study on the value chain of recycling in 4 cities of Ecuador in order to better understand the current recycling situation with view to encouraging economic and social inclusion of waste pickers in the value chain and in public waste management systems. It is expected that the outcome of the project includes a methodology of analysis replicable in other cities within the coountry.
Finally, in March 2016 began the development of inclusion plans due to the closure of landfills in seven municipalities of Ecuador, experiences that will be systematized at the of the process. The project will work with these municipalities to implement the guide, and will also work with waste pickers to develop their own inclusion plans.
In Peru, Ciudad Saludable implemented in 2008-2012 a project in a pre-IRR context to contribute to market development of integrated management for the recycling of solid waste. The project was executed in four municipalities in the metropolitan area of Lima with 12 recyclers associations, trained 24 government officials in the development of solid waste management plans and also trained 530 recyclers, who were certified by the government agency SENATI. In addition, the project supported the formalization of the National Bureau of Recycling, which is a partnership between the industry and waste pickers associations to promote inclusive recycling. More recently, PepsiCo funded the project “Pro-Reciclador” (2013-2017) as a follow up of this work strategy.
During 2011 and 2012, through the “Training for Implementing the Separation at Source Program in Local Governments of Piura, Peru,” (Capacitación para la Implementación de Programa de Segregación en Fuente en Gobiernos Locales de Piura, Perú) 135 technicians and decision makers from 64 Piura municipalities received training on ISWM policies that include waste pickers. Furthermore, 29 mayors and the Regional Governor signed the Piura Declaration, a public commitment to comply with ISWM laws and create selective recollection schemes which include regularized waste pickers.
The IRR has worked with 11 municipalities for the development of ISWM plans and with approximately 200 base recyclers who have been trained to date under the project “Strengthening the recycling value chain with the inclusion of waste pickers” ( 2015-2016 ). Additionally, the project “Strengthening and formalizing waste pickers orgnizations working with metal in 9 cities of Peru” (2015-2017), funded by MIF and executed by Gerdau SiderPeru, trains and provides technical assistance to 40 companies and more than 400 recyclers.