LN – Inclusive recycling: the proposal to change the treatment of waste

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Carolina Pallero (left) worked a year and a half in the garbage dump of El Borbollón; Viviana Nasiff (right), is the technical coordinator of the El Algarrobo cooperative, which together with El Álamo and others work for the closure of landfills and inclusive recycling Source: LA NACION – Credit: Marcelo Aguilar

Develop initiatives at the local level, interacting with cooperatives and municipalities to promote public policies that promote waste management with inclusive recycling. That is the main objective of one of the proposals that the
Fundación Avina began to implement in Argentina in 2013.

“It involves working for the formalization of cooperatives, the professionalization of workers and access to basic rights,” summarizes Florencia Rojas, coordinator of the Inclusive Recycling Project of Avina, which has Danone and Business Commitment for Recycling as local partners ( Cempre). In addition, they are allied with the Federation of Cartoneros, Carreros y Recyladores (Faccyr).


The Alamo is much more than a cooperative: it is a community center, a space for training, containment and personal development.
The Alamo is much more than a cooperative: it is a community center, a space for training, containment and personal development. Source: LA NACION – Credit: Daniel Jayo

Today they have a presence in 12 cities in the country, with 17 associated cooperatives that include some 3,000 formalized workers, which impacts 16,000 people if their family groups are included. In this way, a monthly average of 2400 tons of recyclable materials is recovered. One of the cooperatives with which they work in the city of Buenos Aires, is El Alamo.

The work of El Álamo covers the neighborhoods of Villa Devoto, Parque Chas, Villa Pueyrredón, Agronomía and Villa del Parque. Per day, they recover about 12 tons of waste: 400 per month.

“The last project we inaugurated was in Guaymallén, Mendoza, where a public policy design was made in coordination with the municipality,” Rojas details. The Alamo participated in the development of the project and commissioning of an urban waste classification plant, while Danone, like Avina, contributed funds. “150 people were taken out of the landfill that worked there, 50 of which are currently working at the plant and another 100 are in the process of being incorporated,” says Rojas.


150 men and women work in El Alamo
150 men and women work in El Alamo Source: LA NACION – Credit: Daniel Jayo


The green center of El Alamo, in Villa Urquiza
The green center of El Alamo, in Villa Urquiza Source: LA NACION – Credit: Daniel Jayo

Also in Mendoza, today there are five cooperatives – including El Alamo and El Algarrobo – that are working at a dialogue table with the municipality of Las Heras to articulate the closure of the El Borbollón landfill, with the guarantee of inclusion of workers. “It is estimated that by March it will be closed and, on the other hand, it is expected that an environmental center will be developed there for the metropolitan area,” says Alicia Montoya of El Alamo.

Viviana Nasiff, a member of the technical team of El Algarrobo, says that 260 people are currently working in the garbage dump of El Borbollón, although many others join outside the harvest season or in times of crisis.
“There are three groups that are working there. We managed to get several of them to join the cooperatives, taking them out of the landfill: the goal is to incorporate them all,” says Nasiff.

In the city of Buenos Aires, the project “Leading communities without garbage”, from the civil association Surcos, seeks to promote separation at source and reduce the waste generated in the villages.

It was born in 2018 in partnership with the General Directorate for Strengthening Civil Society of the Ministry of Habitat and Human Development of the City, and the Emergencies Foundation, which finance it. They began to work in the 21-24 town of Barracas, where they managed to have 85% of the households that participated in the initiative incorporate waste separation habits and recover several tons of recyclable material, improving income of cooperatives. Then, they extended to Villa Soldati.


Leandro Ávila (left), along with Ricardo, one of his teammates at the Siempre Verde cooperative
Leandro Ávila (left), along with Ricardo, one of his teammates at the Siempre Verde cooperative Source: LA NACION – Credit: Daniel Jayo

Members of the Siempre Verde cooperative, in VIlla Soldati, in full task
Members of the Siempre Verde cooperative, in VIlla Soldati, in full task Source: LA NACION – Credit: Daniel Jayo

Luciano López Santesteban is the project's operational coordinator. He explains that due to the high population density of the villages and the distribution of the corridors, among other factors, garbage collection is complicated in those territories.
“That creates a serious environmental health problem, and we start thinking about different strategies,” he says.

One of the cooperatives that work with Grooves is Siempre Verde, in Villa Soldati. Leandro Ávila is 37 years old and is his coordinator. He grew up in La Matanza with his six brothers and at eleven he left home escaping the blows of a violent father.
He started living on the street and eating from the trash.


Leandro Ávila (left), along with Ricardo, one of his teammates at the Siempre Verde cooperative
Leandro Ávila (left), along with Ricardo, one of his teammates at the Siempre Verde cooperative Source: LA NACION – Credit: Daniel Jayo

“What for others is garbage, for us it is what allows us to support our families,” says Ricardo Lezcano, who is 25 years old and integrates the Siempre Verde cooperative Source: LA NACION – Credit: Daniel Jayo

In Soldati, Leandro met who had founded the cooperative in 2001.
“Here I did recycling courses, materials and I was training. We are 50 partners,” he says. Today and thanks to the work in the cooperative, he is guaranteed the livelihood for the two daughters of three and seven years old that he raises alone.

The history of the cooperative that lost everything in a fire and dreams of moving forward

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With respect to the society's view, Leandro says that, little by little, awareness of the role of cooperatives is becoming. “More and more neighbors separate the waste and make an effort. But there are also people who have no respect for this work, they don't take care of the cans and if they break a glass bottle they just throw it in the recyclable container, without thinking that later someone can cut themselves, “he says.

He is proud of the work they do: “We get a lot of kids out of drugs and the street. We would like them to be many more,” he says.

How to collaborate

Two years ago, the Siempre Verde cooperative suffered a fire that destroyed its machinery. They do all the work manually. “We work hard and dream of recovering what we lost,” says Leandro. To help, write to
[email protected]

FURTHER

. (tagsToTranslate) Inclusive recycling: the proposal to change the treatment of waste – LA NACION


Publicado en el diario La Nación