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Waste Reduction

Building A New Path Forward recycling

As with many non-profits across the globe, we started 2023 with grand expectations and high hopes of how we can transform social and environmental systems around the globe. We are all too well, 2023 will instead be a road with seemingly unsurmountable challenges.

Our 2020 goal: Expanding the Rethinking of Recycling all across Buenos Aires

We’re proud of our Rethinking Recycling programme at Buenos Aires’ Barrio 31 is locally referred to as “ATR – A Todo Reciclaje was closed in the year with a successful method for sustainable recycling in informal settlements. Over the course of a year, we took the new recycling program right to doorsteps over 20 thousand people, with levels of participation that exceeded 30%, and repurposing over 120 tonnes of recycled materials as well as organics. We set up a community-run sorting centre from scratch and developed the first organics collection service for residents. facility in Buenos Aires. As we stepped into January 2020, our group consisting of local leaders, trash workers, and sustainability experts was determined to expand the “A Todo Reciclaje” program to over 40,000 people across the Barrio 31 neighborhood.

A playbook to manWe are simultaneously educating over 400 waste workers within Barrio 31. Barrio 31 community on COVID-19 prevention strategies. This type of training method was not feasible prior to Covid but it has proved to be safe and efficient. It is a method that will be scaled that we will continue to employ in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The digital assistance and tools that we offered helped us maintain an existing relationship we spent a lot of time building by providing immediate COVID care and support and enabling a smooth return to the program in the month of September 2020, as if it never ever stopped.

The program is relaunching in Barrio 31

Residents and waste-workers of Barrio 31 had abandoned recycling for more than half a year. We had to get back on track to remind them of how important their actions are for the environment and community’s health. The first step was to adapt the entire recycling process as well as sorting procedures to ensure we adhered to all COVID-19-related prevention measures. We also led training and reinforcement sessions for over 200 waste employees. We then developed an online campaign which included digital communication including posters in the streets, as well as door to door communications, extending the message for people to “get re-hooked with saving the planet” to the shops and homes located in Barrio 31.

Today, we’re back on track, and are expanding the program into new areas that are part of Barrio 31. We have also incorporated three more cooperatives into A Todo Reciclaje (ATR) which means that 1,500 additional households and more than six thousand more people will have access to three-stream waste collection. Additionally ATR has also ATR program has attracted the attention of government officials as well as influencers and other organizations who, despite or perhaps in light of the situation, have realized the potential of ATR it’s potential to change communities and increase recycling.

Expansion to Olavarria

It is the Olavarria program, which is dubbed “GIRO” (which stands for Olavarria Integrated Waste Management in Spanish) is a three-year initiative which began in August 2020 and will roll out recycling programs throughout the entire city with residents, the municipal government and waste professionals. With a challenging background that included a worldwide scattered team as well as social distancing procedures the team was able to devise innovative strategies to conduct community-based research in order to gain a better understanding of residents’ experience with waste as well as barriers to recycling. It is currently working on tailored solutions to be tested in different areas beginning in March 2021.

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Jane S. King

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