The Project seeks to reduce the final disposal of solid waste in sanitary landfills, promoting small, medium and large entrepreneurs to recycle various materials, and use organic waste to produce compost, in order to migrate to a more efficient and environment-friendly circular economy.
Bolivia is an urban country. Of its 11.3 million inhabitants, 70% live in large, intermediate or small cities. In these areas, especially in intermediate and small cities, solid waste management services offer little coverage, quality and dependability. Since there is no adequate management system, the utilization of solid waste, its treatment and final disposal measures, contaminate the soil and bodies of water, generating public health problems.Nearly half of the solid waste produced in the country ends up in sanitary landfills, which are almost exclusively located in metropolitan areas. About 90% of the final disposal sites are open-air dumps (without any technical or operational pollution control in place), and more than half of them are close to bodies of water. The collection service is weak and the reuse is negligible (less than 5% of the 50% of usable waste is being recycled).
The project will contribute to the management of solid waste in Bolivia (at different levels and involving public, private and social stakeholders or actors) by prioritizing the reduction of solid waste, separation at the source and recycling, before the final disposal solutions. The approach adopted for this is to minimize the amount of waste (especially organic) that is buried in landfills or controlled landfills. This reduces the generation of leachates and greenhouse gases. At the same time, the maximization of the recycling reduces the waste that goes to landfills, contributing to a longer useful life of the sanitary landfills and greater efficiency in the system. This is not possible if there are no efficient systems in waste collection, transport and storage; if the population does not buy-in or feel responsible for environmental management and if service providers are not consolidated (technical and management capabilities). Finally, with less pollution, more adequate sectoral public policies and with efficient and sustainable services, it will directly contribute to the improvement of living conditions and specifically to public health.
The project promotes differentiated collection in homes, ensuring that composting inputs and reusable materials are not contaminated and can be reintroduced to the different production cycles. This new induced behavior will promote major changes in public and private solid waste management models.
The project is managed at three different levels. Swisscontact will manage the city of La Paz (1 million inhabitants), Tarija (with 250,000 inhabitants) will be managed by the Aguatuya Foundation, and the municipalities of the Bolivian Chaco (association of small municipalities - 65,000 inhabitants) will be managed by Helvetas Swiss Inter-cooperation.