Santiago is increasing the rate of recycling by building local centers that benefit the local environment and entrepreneurship.

The Challenge

A lack of adequate infrastructure and cultural norms have limited Santiago to a 10% recycling rate, according a local survey. The majority of waste ends up in landfills, negatively impacting the lives of mainly low-income communities.

The Solution

The City of Santiago is making it easier for citizens to recycle by implementing so-called 'clean points' where waste can be sorted in order to be reused. A network of points will be built to increase the recycling rate. New equipment and training of personnel will also be used to classify, transport, and eliminate illegal waste disposal in public spaces. An important aspect of the project is the inclusion of 'Base Recyclers' (one-man recycling companies) in the waste network, as their income will increase with more efficient waste collection. The project will create 20 new clean points in 16 municipalities that integrate the pre-treatment processing of waste, facilitating the transport and trade onto processing companies. Existing local recycling initiatives will be strengthened by the local centers, and the project aims to improve economic, social, and environmental measures related to solid waste management. Local governments are free to adapt the approach, so it responds to local market demands, making it an adaptive, flexible waste management system.

Environmental Benefits – Local recovery of waste reduces emissions by avoiding longer collection and transportation trips, as well as reduced methane emissions from organic decomposition in landfills.

Economic Benefits – Reimagining waste as a resource instead of “garbage” makes possible revenue generation from the sale of recovered and/or recycled waste.

About Cities100

Presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – Cities100 2017 showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in five sectors: Energy, Waste, Adaptation, Mitigation and Transportation.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments. You can access the full Cities100 2017 publication online here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
Key Impact
36,000 tons of waste diverted from landfills is the goal of the project
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