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Eco-neighbourhoods (EcoVecindarios): E-Waste-Recycling, wastewater management and green business

Bolivia’s economy is growing steadily and fortunately the poverty rate is dropping. However, as a consequence there are increasing quantities of special waste and wastewater that harm the environment and the health of the population. Wastewater management and special waste recycling remain seriously underdeveloped. Severely polluted wastewater winds up untreated in natural aquifers and gets reused in irrigation. City authorities are under pressure to address these challenges. Therefore, Swisscontact is supporting local actors to implement practical solutions for recycling and wastewater management.

The Project

The project has been supporting local authorities and SMEs for many years to develop market-based and efficient waste management systems. During the current project phase (2017-2018) the focus is on separating and recycling electronic waste and discarded cooking oil, as well as treating wastewater from large public and industrial producers in the three large Bolivian cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz. It is also about supporting environmentally-friendly business models, such as informal carwashes that treat their waste water and reuse it.

On the one hand, businesses and households are sensitized in methods to handle special waste and wastewater properly.    On the other, authorities and companies receive advisory services in implementation.  They are supported in efforts to collect, recycle, and discard special waste efficiently in collaboration with the private sector and in tandem with public sector authorities. For wastewater, the focus is on careful use of water as a precious resource, recycling wastewater, and developing small pilot treatment facilities for public and private institutions.

Objectives 2017-2018

  • 3 municipalities as beneficiaries (La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz)
  • 4,500 households and 30 resource-intensive businesses
  • 9 private waste management and recycling firms receiving training in management and processing

Outputs and impact

  • 4,500 households will be separating special waste by 2018
  • 30 resource-intensive businesses (also state offices) will be separating their special waste by 2018
  • In waste management companies, 30 jobs will be upgraded (to become decent jobs) and 6 new full-time positions created. Their sales volumes will increase by 10%.
  • Companies buying, recycling, and selling 350 tonnes of electronics and electronic parts plus 200,000 litres of cooking oil
  • 3,500 households are implementing good practices in water usage and wastewater reduction
  • 6 small treatment facilities installed
  • At least 20 resource-intensive businesses are treating their wastewater by 2018
  • By 2018, a total 600 million litres of wastewater will have been purified.
  • 10% of this will be reused in industrial processes.

Project activities

  1. Information campaigns for the population and resource-intensive businesses
  2. Support to municipalities in implementing special waste and wastewater management systems
  3. Promotion of improved services from recycling companies
  4. Implementation of innovative solutions for wastewater treatment.
  5. Advancement of innovative ideas in recycling and wastewater treatment for small and medium enterprises
  6. Support to introduce legal frameworks at the local and national levels
  7. Strengthening project partners through targeted technical training and continuing education



Results 2017-2018

    • Thanks to awareness-raising, 1,261 companies and 22,402 households separated their special waste. 3 836 households have improved their water usage by reusing or processing water.
    • 17 new green jobs were generated and the working conditions of 71 existing jobs were improved.
    • 529 t of E-Waste collected and properly managed
    • 1,380 t of CO2-eq reduced through oil recycling
    • 17 small wastewater treatment models have been developed and 100,000 m3 of wastewater treated.

Project progress between 2013-2016 (Focus: waste management)

  • 12 municipalities have improved their waste management systems
  • Town municipalities and their subcontractors are investing US$11 million to improve waste management.
  • 38 innovative "green" recycling companies were strengthened. They have invested approx. 400,000 USD in the waste sector.
  • 170,000 households are separating their rubbish
  • Of the collected waste, 17,000 were recycled into usable raw materials with a sales value of over US$2.3 million.
  • Over 50,000 tonnes of organic waste was composted.
  • Inclusion of informal waste collectors (so-called “Ecorecolectores”) supported
  • Over 500 state employees trained in waste management, including 126 women
  • 519,000 households sensitized and numerous campaigns conducted at schools
  • 140 new jobs created, including many jobs for women
  • The project supported innovative online business platforms for recyclable waste
  • 45,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions saved (CO2).

Project partner

  • SDC
  • Corymbo Foundation
  • Foundation for the Third Millennium

Project countries

  • Bolivia

Project duration

2017 - 2018


  • 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