The project – the Alliance’s first in Brazil – will establish new recycling centres and incorporate a sustainable business model from the sale of recovered materials.
Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 9, 2022 – The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance) today announced its first project in Brazil, with non-profit organisation Recicleiros. The five-year collaboration aims to help curb plastic waste leakage and support recycling efforts across 60 cities in 26 states including Piracaia/SP, Três Rios/RJ and Naviraí/MS. It plans to do this by creating community-based waste collection programmes as well as enable the establishment of a network of 60 sorting and recycling centres. The project aims to create 3,000 new jobs in the process.
When fully operational, the programme aims to recycle at least 30,000 tons of plastic waste per year. Key to the commercial viability of the programme is the creation of end markets for recyclates. Recicleiros is connecting directly with brand owners and other end users to shorten the chain for the sale of plastic waste and ensuring a greater return for waste pickers.
Operations in each city aim to start within four months after meeting the participation requirements, with the goal of achieving economic and operational stability within three years after commencement. The system aims to be fully operational within five years after which it will be handed over to the cooperatives to own and run. Participating cities in the first wave were identified after a rigorous application process and programme commitment.
The programme builds on a successful pilot that began in Ceará, Brazil and was rolled out to nine other cities. The model is based on the development of public policies in partnership with municipalities, engaging local populations through custom behaviour change programmes and developing direct connections with brand owners. Recicleiros aims to implement highly efficient sorting units throughout all Brazilian states, in line with the Alliance’s approach to finding localised plastic waste solutions that can be replicated and scaled.
“Waste management systems can sometimes struggle to achieve financial sustainability. To achieve our mission of ending plastic waste, the Alliance strives to integrate solution models with circular economy principles aiming for commercially viable systems at scale,” said Steve Sikra, Vice President and Head of the Americas for the Alliance. “Together with Recicleiros, we aim to reduce waste leakage and increase recycling rates while creating jobs and a sense of community for the Brazilian people. We’re looking forward to helping this project expand across Brazil.
Demand for post-consumer recyclables in Brazil is expected to grow significantly in line with regulatory frameworks, and this collaboration aims to bridge the gap between the supply and demand for recovered materials in Brazil.
“This partnership with the Alliance brings us several opportunities to achieve the statutory mission of Instituto Recicleiros. In addition to financial investment, which is essential for running operations until the break-even phase, it allows us to reach and engage with more of the population and build a bigger network of partners and possibilities, as well as create a sustainable, circular economy for different types of materials,” said Erich Burger, Founder and Business Development Director at Recicleiros. “We will also be able to advance our model through experience and technological exchange, and ultimately replicate the model through other initiatives.”