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Brazilian Federal Solid Waste Legislation

Posted on: December 9th, 2011 by and

Efficient selective waste collection using an electric cart in Londrina.

Over the past 11 years, organized recyclers in Brazil have been involved in the design of federal waste management legislation. The law, which was sanctioned in 2011, recognizes the importance of the roles recyclers play in the waste management process. The law requires municipalities to develop waste management strategies, and suggests the possibility of funding for future improvements in systems.

There are some challenges associated with the new legislation. In addition to issues surrounding monitoring of the law, there are some flaws in the wording of certain sections. In particular, some segments allow for the possibility of loopholes that prioritize incineration and exclude informal recyclers from the management process. Another shortcoming of the law is that is does not recognize independent recyclers, nor the scrap dealing with whom they trade.

While the approval of the waste management legislation marked a tremendous success for recyclers in Brazil, there are still areas that need alteration in order to fully recognize and protect recycling groups.

*This blog is based on the article: Gutberlet, Jutta (2011). Waste to Energy, Wasting Resources and Livelihoods. Integrated Waste Management – Volume I, Sunil Kumar (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-469-6, InTech.

The Community Based Research Lab

Good Practice Experiences with Selective Waste Collection in Brazil

Posted on: December 1st, 2011 by and

“Organised recycling programmes provide an opportunity to enhance public environmental awareness with the recyclers performing the role of environmental agents”

– Jutta Gutberlet, PSWM Project Director.


Londrina is a city located in the state of Paraná, in the south of Brazil. In 2001, the city implemented a selective waste collection program. Reciclando Vidas (Recycling Lives) has since grown to be a benchmark program for selective waste collection in Brazil. Today, it serves 90% of the city’s population of 500,000. The following statistics highlight the effectiveness of the program:

  • 75% adherence rate of the population
  • In 2010, 26.6% of household waste being recovered.

Of this number, only 4% of the collected material was not considered recyclable, whereas in other communities this number is closer to 50%.


Waste to Energy – Wasting Resources and Livelihoods

Posted on: November 16th, 2011 by and

“Besides the environmental impacts, with dangerous air pollutants and toxic ashes, waste incineration allows the current unsustainable situation of resource extraction, production, consumption and discarding to be maintained.” (Gutberlet, 2011)

“… incineration is advertised as renewable energy, as recycling and even as clean development mechanism. These misconceptions need to be rectified. Waste to Energy technologies terminate the possibility of recycling and therefore reiterate new resource extraction.” (Gutberlet, 2011)

One of the most concerning current issues is the global production of solid waste. There are more people consuming more goods and producing more waste than ever before. Meanwhile, household garbage is becoming increasingly toxic and varied in type, which complicates biodegradation in landfills.

As landfills pile up and the problem of waste production worsens, governments are increasingly pressured to find solutions. Most commonly, responses are aimed at developing technologies to treat solid waste. Few efforts have been made to decrease overall consumption and almost no attention has been aimed at challenging the global framework of economic growth and increasing consumption.


Waste, Poverty, and Recycling

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by and

“The project gives us hope, motivation, power. That’s why we are always after capacity building; because we are much more instructed and prepared to continue the struggle”

– Zilda, CRUFFI recycling co-operative, São Paulo

In our mass consumption society, finding ways to manage the growing production of waste is becoming increasingly important. The concept of inclusive waste management considers both environmental and community health. One of the methods used in this approach is Participatory Sustainable Waste Management (PSWM). PSWM is defined as “solid waste recovery, reuse and recycling practices with organized and empowered recycling co-ops supported with public policies, embedded in solidarity economy, and targeting social equity and environmental sustainability” (Gutberlet, 2010).  This approach addresses livelihood concerns such as the generation of employment, creating increased incomes, and improving occupational health.


YouTube Clips Related to Incineration

Posted on: October 23rd, 2010 by and