Ecuador, land of recyclers with business vision and profitable ideas

This content was published on October 24, 2022 – 14:01.

Quito, October 24 (EFE).- Ecuadorian recyclers, accustomed to long and hard working days on the street or in landfills collecting plastic, paper, cardboard or glass to sell for little money, have a keen vision. to develop businesses that increase their income and professionalize their activities.

Waste collection and transport services, education in waste sorting and classification, sweeping public spaces and maintaining green spaces are some of the initiatives Ecuador has offered to broaden its horizons in a country where the National Network of Recyclers (Renarec) is located. It is estimated that around 20,000 people are committed to recycling.

Bringing together around 1,500 recyclers from 50 associations across the country since Renarec started operating nearly two years ago, this organization has found that recycling can be profitable if approached the right way.

“In these two years, they’ve already crossed the breakeven point and made a profit,” says Felipe Toledo, program manager for the Avina Foundation, which has supported Renarec in empowering Ecuador’s recyclers through incorporation and business models for fifteen years.

“These are businesses run by women after all,” Toledo tells Renarec, whose board of directors is predominantly women, as 60 to 70 percent of the people committed to recycling in Ecuador, including Juana Iza, are women. President.

They have signed agreements with some companies, in some cases to collect donated waste, then process it and sell it to a collection centre, or to breathe new life into the industry that directly purchases these materials.


The profit is distributed among the associations that are part of the waste recovery process and some is saved to keep the business growing, so much so that they consider purchasing their second truck and then setting up their own recycling centre. collection.

They also aim to expand the business unit’s services nationwide, as they have so far been operating in Quito and Machachi, a town close to the Ecuadorian capital.

All this with advice and training from the Avina Foundation so that recyclers can be increasingly positioned within the recycling chain and under the umbrella of the Latitude R continental platform, which focuses on inclusive recycling and the circular economy.

“There has also been a positive response from the private sector recently, with five national companies funding the formalization and certification of recyclers’ workforce skills,” Toledo said.

Thus, Renarec earned its members an average of $218 (223 Euros) per month, compared to $188 (192 Euros) for recyclers not grouped in this organization.


However, this still barely represents 50% of the minimum wage in Ecuador, which is currently set at $425 (435 euros), so Renarec is also in charge of the waste management of municipalities with the Government and the National Assembly (Parliament). knows their work.

This pay-for-service is a mechanism for municipalities to pay recyclers an amount equivalent to the cost of solid waste management companies to process each tonne of waste processed by recyclers.

This already exists in countries such as Argentina, Colombia and Brazil, and is expected to be implemented when regulations of the Circular and Inclusive Economy Organic Law, approved in Ecuador last year, come into effect and each municipality adopts it in its regulation.

According to Toledo, women’s leadership in these processes is highly commendable, “because they are people who sometimes haven’t even finished basic school but are leading national businesses, lobbying the Government and Parliament for the approval of laws and projects, and are now meeting face-to-face with executives of private sector companies.” and they market it”.

“The process has been empowered and owned by women, and I think it’s appropriate to emphasize in times of crisis in this country, because even during the pandemic they didn’t stop working, they did a benefit to the environment, climate and society,” she concludes. EFE


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