Scaling plastic waste networks and accelerating the green economy by collecting and recycling over 500 tonnes of plastic waste per year
The proliferation of plastic waste has become increasingly severe in Colombia, with the recent COVID-19 pandemic compounding this issue to an all time high. Plastic medical equipment, such as masks and gloves, can be seen piling up along the shores of the Caribbean, carried to the sea by rivers flowing through central Colombian cities. Plastic waste collection and recycling centres are severely limited in the country’s cities, with mountains of litter lining streets and informal waste workers subjected to leading plastic collection initiatives.
throughout multiple cities in Colombia including Bogota, Barranquilla and Cali
of products and packaging, reducing dependence on virgin plastic
collected and recycled annually, preventing plastic pollution in Bogotá and surrounding areas
Spanning across multiple cities, including Bogota, Barranquilla, Cundinamarca, and Cali, the Plastic Smart Cities project aims to tackle Colombia’s plastic problem through establishing a formal recycling network, expanding the range of plastic that can be recycled and improving waste management infrastructure in the country. Post-consumer plastic waste is collected by waste workers directly from households as well as through formal plastic waste collection services and at events run by the project's staff. Collected plastic is sent to the project’s own recycling centre where it is repurposed into new material.
Implemented by a Colombian social enterprise that tackles waste management and transformation, the project contributes to the local economy through employing 15 full time staff - training them in sustainable waste management systems. Finance through the project helps in leapfrogging the high capital investments and running costs of the facility until a wider market for plastic collection and recycling develops in the country. By ensuring a strong network of waste management is in place the project helps to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable development and foster innovation in Colombia.