Waste Management for Eco-Communities

In countries such as Bolivia, where low salaries and high unemployment mean that more and more families have to find a way to survive, recycling offers the potential of an economic olive branch. Eco-Communities is a project that provides to earn a living while implementing well structured waste collection and recycling system.

The Project

Bolivia generates approximately 5'000 tons of solid waste per day, 87% of which in urban areas. This daily amount of rubbish is one of the major problems in the growing urban centers.

Yet the economic potential of recycable waste materials is high. Furthermore, the quantity of waste in landfill sites could be reduced by more than half if organic and recyclable material was separated consequently from residual waste. Based on a broad citizen participation the project launches in coordination with municipal authorities a fundamental system change.

The project Eco-Communities develops and implements:

  • Sensitisation of the citizens on waste separation in situ, through a systemic intervention in urban areas
  • Collection systems for recyclable waste
  • Implementing innovative solutions for waste water treatement
  • Support innovative recycling ideas of small and medium-sized enterprises
  • support in introducing legal frameworks at the local and national level 
  • strengthening project partners through targeted technical training and continuing education



Results to 2014:

  • Training for 342 suppliers of recycling services, including 112 women (33%).
  • 150'000 households have been informed about solid waste, recycling and water.
  • 106 green jobs generated, with 37% for women (39 jobs).
  • Creation of 294 additional jobs, 101 for women (34%).
  • 462'200 t of solid waste collected, including 14'400 t of recyclable materials and 9'500 t of organic waste (compost).
  • 7'400 t of greenhouse gasses no longer emitted (CO2 equivalent).
  • USD 1'200'000 invested by municipal governments and their counterparties to improve solid waste management, facilitated by Swisscontact.

Project countries

  • Bolivia

Project duration

2017 - 2020


  • SDC
  • République et canton de Genève, Bureau de la Solidarité Internationale

Working area


Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97
E-Mail info@STOP-SPAM.swisscontact.org