Reciclaje Sostenible

The growing global awareness about environmental limitations has highlighted the importance of waste management in the public agenda. On one hand, it is not feasible to continue to increase the amount of waste and associated environmental problems. On the other hand, recyclable wastes are raw materials that reduce economic and environmental costs without altering the quality of products. Meanwhile, the pressure that global economic instability puts on employment, consumer goods and conventional business models requires increasingly efficient approaches to business and the provision of public services.


In developing countries, waste management has an additional social dimension: Millions of collectors of recyclable materials go out into the streets daily to do their job and make a living. Despite their valuable contributions for the environment and the economy, this extremely vulnerable group of workers lives in social, political and economic exclusion.


Opportunity identified by AVINA
and its allies

Contribute to the social and economic inclusion of millions of Latin American urban recyclers through sustainable waste management.


Shared strategy for action
Encourage the reorganization of the recycling industry to generate decent and productive jobs for recyclers while at the same time maximizing environmental and social benefits through a democratic and equitable interaction among the public sector, industry and recyclers.

AVINA’s contribution to this strategy focuses primarily on:

  • Strengthening recycling organizations
  • Expanding its networks and national and international connections
  • Integrating recyclers into the value chain of the recycling industry
  • Including recyclers in municipal waste management systems
  • Encouraging participation of recyclers in new green markets
  • Promoting inclusive public policies


International alliances
AVINA has a network of 230 allies in Latin America, North America and Europe who approach the issue of recycling from different sectors and perspectives. AVINA collaborates with these allies to build shared action agendas and strategies.

More specifically, the network includes 60 representatives from recycling organizations and national movements in fifteen countries associated with the Latin American Network of Recyclers. It also includes 50 allies from the private sector, 90 from civil society organizations and technical institutes, as well as twenty from government and academia.

Our main fellow investors for this opportunity are:

AVINA supports recyclers’ movements across Latin America. Above, Centro de Reciclaje La Alquería, a recycling facility built by the city of Bogota, Colombia, is currently administered by two recyclers’ organizations.



Some achievements of our allies in 2010

Buenos Aires formalizes recyclers as employees of the municipal waste management system
After five years of work by the recycling organizations and their allies, Buenos Aires adopted a policy announcing that the city’s collection of recyclable waste will be conducted entirely by recycling cooperatives. AVINA assisted recycling leaders in their efforts and negotiations with government officials and participated in the monitoring committee of the Zero Waste Act, supporting the agenda of the recyclers. In addition, AVINA supported the strengthening of organizations, connections with the private sector, and coordination with organizations in other countries and the Latin American Network of Recyclers.


Brazil sanctions national policy that formalizes the work of 800,000 recyclers

On August 2, 2010, the National Policy of Solid Waste law was approved in Brasilia mandating that 800,000 recyclers should be included in municipal recycling programs, thereby promoting cooperatives and federal incentives. The Movimiento Nacional de Catadores de Materiais Recicláveis (National Movement of Recyclable Material Collectors, or MNCR) expects that the law will lead to an increase in average income of waste collectors, currently near the minimum wage (USD 250 per month). For years AVINA has supported the strengthening and local, regional and national coordination of MNCR, including its efforts to find strategic partners in government.


Chile’s Ministry of Economy grants legal status to recyclers

The Recycling Movement of Chile (Movimiento Nacional de Recicladores de Chile, or MNRCh) was granted legal status as a professional association on October 1, 2010. This status was granted by the Ministry of Economy after the charter and bylaws were signed during a ceremony attended by public authorities and 29 leaders representing 22 recycling organizations across the country. This formalization will bolster the actions of organized recyclers, give legal backing to the movement and allow it to legally represent affiliated organizations. For three years AVINA has invested in strengthening the organization of waste collectors in Chile, promoting its national structure and shared strategy.


Nova Esperança Cooperative in São Paulo, Brazil. In August 2010, the Brazilian government passed the National Solid Waste Policy law, which provides for the inclusion of 800,000 waste collectors in municipal recycling efforts through support to cooperatives and federal incentives.