Since 2010, the MIF is working in Argentina to support the socioeconomic and civic inclusion of informal waste pickers. The project, expected to finalize in 2016, has strengthened waste pickers organizations in the cities of Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Parana and their production processes. Thanks to the project, 250 waste pickers have been trained in organizational management, and waste pickers organizations have formalized agreements with the private sector.
Brazil stands out as one of the most advanced countries in waste pickers inclusion (locally known as “catadores”) in integrated solid waste management systems. Its legal framework recognizes and promotes the participation of waste pickers in the recycling value chain and those involved are working towards effective implementation of these laws and regulations.
IRR members currently participate in the Cata Açao Project (www.cataacao.org.br), which operates in nine Brazilian cities (Natal, Recife, Salvador, Brasilia, Manaos, Aracajú, Londrina, Abreu e Lima, and San Pablo) to create and strengthen waste pickers associations and integrate them into the country’s recycling value chain. Some of the project’s results include the creation and improvement of six recyclable materials trade networks involving 55 waste picking cooperatives in Brasilia, Aracaju, Salvador, Recife, Londrina and Natal.
Brazil is also receiving support to implement a project called “Support to Selective Recollection Systems in 11 Minas Gerais Municipalities” (Apoyo a sistemas de Recolección Selectiva en 11 Municipalidades de Minas Gerais) with the objective of developing and consolidating recollection at source systems in the municipalities of Araxá, João Monlevade, Itaúna, Juiz de Fora, Sete Lagoas, Pirapora, Mariana, Ouro Preto, Contagem, Paracatu and Unaí. The project will benefit 439 waste pickers and 18 cooperatives. This project is being implemented by the Serviço Voluntário de Assistência Social (Voluntary Social Assistance Service) with technical assistance from the Centro Mineiro de Referencia em Residuos.
Finally, other initiatives in Brazil include the annual participation at the fair Expo Catadores, which brings together professionals from the recycling sector, environmental technology, public and non-profit sector, among others. PepsiCo is also continuing this line of work in the country through the “Pro-reciclador” project. The MIF and the Coca-Cola Institute in Brazil are carrying out a project to refine and consolidate the “Coletivo” program in the country (2014-2017), training around 3,300 recyclers in issues related to inclusive recycling.
The IRR is currently implementing a project called “Inclusive Recycling: Government, Businesses and Waste Pickers” (“Reciclaje Inclusivo: gobierno, empresas y recicladores”) in four municipalities (Recolecta, Quinta Normal, Santiago and Peñalolén) in the metropolitan area of Santiago. This project will benefit 400 waste pickers by improving their work conditions and increasing their average annual wages by successfully operating municipal recovery centers. This project has counterparts in the public and private sector including five private companies (Coca-Cola Chile, PepsiCo, Gerdau, BASF and TetraPak), the Banco Estado (State Bank), the four municipal governments and the Regional Santiago Waste Pickers’ Program. The project is run by Casa de la Paz with technical assistance from the Chilean Waste Pickers’ Movement (MNRCh).
The project is creating a broad collaboration platform for participants to develop a successful inclusive recycling model. It has also formed alliances to impact on the development of ISWM public policies to promote innovation in recycling processes. There are two additional initiatives in Chile including the support from Fundación Avina to Chile Sustentable (2013-2015) and the creation of the ISWM chapter within the observatory of the metropolitan area of Concepción (2015-2016).
During 2011 and 2012, the IRR through the NGO Savia worked in the municipalities of Luque and Encarnacion to organize and train waste pickers. A waste pickers association was created in Luque and ISWM training courses were carried out for waste pickers and municipal technicians in charge of this service. In Encarnacion, the Landfill Waste pickers Management Board was created and strengthened through training and technical assistance to establish selective recollection routes from large solid waste generators.