A waste recycling cooperative in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is participating in a pilot project run by Circular Action Hub founder BVRio and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance) to encourage higher levels of recycling by households. The project will also provide additional income to waste pickers who sort the material, with the potential to increase in the future. The KOLEKT mobile phone app is used to monitor the process, guaranteeing traceability.
After the initial development period, the project involving the cooperative Coopama, is now in its active collection phase. Plastic waste collected from various residential and commercial sources will be sorted at Coopama and sold to recyclers, who will process the material and divert it towards a circular economy for plastics. The project is expected to collect a total of 1,805 metric tons by January 2023.
One of the two large condominiums participating is the Norte Village condo in Del Castilho, Rio de Janeiro, where households are being advised on how to sort the waste from their homes. The condo has 1,200 apartments, and residents now have a new dedicated area where the different types of recyclable solid waste, such as plastic, glass, cardboard, and metal, are placed for collection.
Following the initial project development phase, work to configure the KOLEKT app was undertaken, including improvements to offline capabilities to meet waste pickers’ needs with limited or no internet access. The cooperative and waste pickers have received training in using the app and are promoting its use to households directly.
The project has provided the cooperative with funding to increase its waste collection capacity by renting three new trucks and hiring drivers and assistants to support the waste management process.
Administrative Manager at Coopama, Luana Fernandes, commented, “It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to receive support from BVRio and the Alliance. The project has helped us to expand collections, increase material and generate more opportunities and income for collectors. We have hired more people for the team, and so more people have benefited from the waste collected. With additional funding we now have added three trucks carrying out the collections, two assistants and a driver per truck, supporting our cooperative. In addition to the collection and sorting work, we are carrying out environmental education campaigns in the condo to expand the collection of solid waste.”
BVRio Circular Economy Specialist, Pedro Succar, is managing the project, and commented, “In this project we are seeking to prove that improvements in the collection infrastructure and process can cause a big increase in recycling rates. The project also represents a significant step forward in the roll-out of the KOLEKT app in Brazil, as it will be the first time that it has been used for household recycling. For this pilot project only the cooperative involved will manage the waste through the app as they process it onward, but in the future, households and building managers will be able to use the app directly to advertise to any collectors using the app in the city.”
About the Alliance to End Plastic Waste
The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance) is a global non-profit organisation with the mission to end plastic waste in the environment. Its focus is implementing projects and investing in innovative solutions to develop or enhance waste management systems. As of June 2022, its portfolio comprises over 50 projects across 30 countries worldwide.
Tackling plastic waste is a complex challenge that requires collective action. Since 2019, the Alliance has convened a global network of industry leaders across the plastics value chain, together with government, civil society, entrepreneurs, and communities to work towards advancing a circular economy for plastic waste. For more information, visit: www.endplasticwaste.org