Recycling: A Latin American hurdle

Taking care of the planet is something of crucial importance


The management of waste in Latin American countries shares similar characteristics with other nations around the globe: increasing amount of trash, little to no separation of recyclable materials, and lack of space for sustainable confinement, among others. Even though most cities possess the same difficulties, not all handle the matter similarly.

However, everyday there are new solutions through the implementation of technology so that recycling can be done properly but these work hand-in-hand with the knowledge that each individual possesses on how to adequately reuse.

One must know that prior to materials being recycled, they must be properly separated into different bins. In Latin America, interesting enough, there is no sanction towards those who do not cooperate by dividing their waste into distinct bins. This is thanks to the people that live around waste, such as trash collectors and the street cleaning crew. These individuals earn extra cash searching through rubbish which, at the end of the day, stops the adequate recycling process.

Organic waste, which is, basically, food remains, could ideally be used to nourish gardens. For this to be doable, they must be placed separately into their own bag away from plastic, glass, and aluminum. In Latin America, this simple task doesn’t happen and large amounts of editable material is misused.

On the other hand, materials that can be recycled, such as polyethylene, aluminum, cardboard, paper, and glass, must also be placed separately. This will make it easier to sort out when it arrives at the proper facilities or whenever the waste pickers are scavenging through the trash.

Finally, the rest of the waste that is generated does end up in land fields. These artifacts cannot be reused and most Latin American regions prefer to let them sit on the outskirts of towns rather than finding more viable solutions.

LatinAmerican Post |Gabriela Montes Neri
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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