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Empowering Our Communities To Redesign
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Creating Local Jobs
& Recovering Resources

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Optimising Waste Collection for Quality Recycling
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Returning Organic Material to Our Soils

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Advocating for a Zero Waste Future

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Supporting Local Groups to Drive Change

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Closing the Loop of Materials,
Phasing Out Toxics & Emissions

Gearing up for Paris! Our Calendar of Zero Waste Activities

December is going to be a very busy time for zero waste and climate justice groups who will be meeting in Paris. In the context of the Paris COP21 climate talks taking place during the first few weeks of December, Zero Waste Europe has teamed up with Zero Waste France, GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) and many other organizations to kick off a great calendar of events to promote zero waste climate solutions and challenge climate finance going to dirty energy from landfills and incinerators.

Paris will be a chance to meet community zero waste leaders, visionary zero waste entrepreneurs, front-line impacted communities and cutting-edge researchers that will present and highlight the connections between the management of municipal solid waste (MSW) and climate change, including full presentations of our recently launch report The potential contribution of waste Management to a Low Carbon Economy.

Here is a brief run-down of some of the key zero waste and climate events happening in the end of November and beginning of December, and do follow the links for more information about each event.

International Meeting of Key Struggles Around Waste Incineration in Cement Kilns and Zero Waste Barcelona and Montcada i Reixach, Spain, 27-29 November

Waste incineration in cement kilns has been lauded by the industry as solution to climate change. This conference will discuss how to thoroughly tackle that assertion, and build connections between community campaigns and groups who are working on this issue around the world.

This conference, hosted by local organisations will provide a forum for groups many different countries to meet, share lessons and experiences on organising and campaigning, and discuss the potential for a global campaign on cement kiln waste incineration.

Register for this event

The Global Climate March – Paris, 29 November (12PM République)

The march, taking place the day before world leaders and negotiators arrive in Paris, aims to put pressure on the negotiations to demand a effective collective response to the climate crisis.

Coalition Climat 21 Poster
Coalition Climat 21 Poster

The Global Climate March in Paris will have a ‘Zero Waste Section’ which will march with a particular focus on solidarity with local anti-incinerator group Collectif 3R and Zero Waste France that have been engaged long time against the Ivry incinerator

At the same time as this demonstration in Paris, marches will be taking place around the world, and supporters of climate justice who are not in Paris on the 29th are encouraged to take place in demonstrations wherever they may be.

GAIA Global Meeting – Paris, 30 November – 2 December

Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) network, this event will bring together the most active members of the GAIA network in Paris to reflect on the history of the network and look towards the future, in terms of strategy, projects, campaigns and structure.

This meeting hopes to deepen and strengthen relationships between GAIA members to create a more effective and dynamic network where members can work effectively across borders towards zero waste solutions.

Conference: Zero Waste: A Key Solution Pathway for a Low Carbon Future – Paris, 3 December (08.30 – 19.30)

Zero Waste France, will be hosting a large conference to emphasise ‘Zero Waste’ as a climate solution. The event will debunk incineration as a climate and renewable energy solution, and work to increase the visibility of existing successful models. Participants include Zero Waste experts, government officials, European NGOs, representatives from Zero Waste projects from the Global South, and GAIA members. This event will take place at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Amphithéatre Jean Jaurès, Paris.

Read the full programme on our event page.

Events inside the COP 21 – UNFCCC negotiations space

Side-event: Waste Sector Strategies for a Low Carbon Economy: Innovative Experiences in the Global South – Paris, 5 December

At an event inside the COP21 Climate Summit, we will be discussing the waste management strategies which will help lead us towards a low carbon economy, with leading practitioners in the Global South. There will also be a booth inside the event, with the latest publications from the network. Space only open to accredited participants.

Events at the civil society space The Climate Generations Area (Le Bourget)

Composting and Soils Health: Zero Waste and Agroecology Solutions for Climate Action – Paris, December 4, Room 6 (14.45 – 18.30)

This event will bring together leading practitioners, cutting-edge researchers, and Global South representatives of local farming and cooperatives of waste pickers to look into the climate solutions around organic waste, particularly exploring the intersection between zero waste and agroecology. In cities around the world, practice is showing that tackling organic waste is key; while being part of the problem, its proper management in composting can turn it into a real solution for soil depletion, emission reduction from landfills and use of chemical fertilizers.

Final programme to be announced soon.

Side-event: What are the NAMAs and how is civil society engagement important for their success – Paris, 9 December

With a international panel of speakers, this side-event will look at specific NAMAs around the world, including those in the waste sector, with specific attention to the participation of civil society.  

Side-event: Zero Waste Solutions: A Key Contribution to Climate Change Mitigation – Paris, 10 December

We will be hosting a side event at the Le Bourget Civil Society Space examining the ways in which Zero Waste solutions can be a vital contribution to the mitigation of climate change.

Side-event: The Contribution of Waste Pickers Cooperatives in Climate Change Mitigation – Paris, 10 December

This event will take place in Room 7 at the civil society space. The discussions will include members from waste-pickers organisations and will highlight the role that waste pickers and their organisations can play in mitigating the effects of climate change.

 

Events taking place in other spaces:

Alternatiba Global Village of Alternatives
Alternatiba Global Village of Alternatives

Village of Alternatives– Paris, 5-6 December

A large festival organised by Alternatiba in the Montreuil area of Paris. The event is powered by more than 500 volunteers, and climate enthusiasts from around the world. The temporary village will present the huge variety of alternatives for climate justice, and will include Zero Waste areas.

People’s Climate Summit – Paris, 5-6 December

Hundreds of actions, debates and initiatives will be organized by civil society, both French and International, in and around Paris during the whole two weeks of the COP21. But this weekend will see the greatest concentration of debates, workshops, screenings and presentations of concrete alternatives in the face of climate change. This “People’s Climate Summit” will take place in Montreuil, a lively working-class town just outside the East of Paris. 

 

The Climate Action Zone – Paris, 7-12 December

The Climate Action Zone organised by Coalition Climat 21, will present the grassroots campaigns working to fight the effects of climate change. We will hold events on zero waste strategies and climate justice from around the world in this space, dates and specific location yet to be confirmed.

Other Climate Actions:

Over this period there are going to be many more climate actions taking place, and the Zero Waste Europe/GAIA delegation will be coordinating with Zero Waste France & local activists to participate in the mass mobilisation planned for 12 December.

With such a busy schedule it is clear Zero Waste solutions will be present in many of the civil society spaces of the COP21 climate summit, and hopefully this opportunity will allow us to build and strengthen our network to tackle waste incineration across the world beyond the conference.


‘Incineradoras No, Zero Waste Madrid’ in action!

Incineradoras No, Zero Waste Madrid is successfully paving the way for Zero Waste Municipalities in the area of Madrid, in Spain.

 

Since this summer, thanks to the progressive political turn in many municipalities in the area, the network has been able to ally with alternative political parties and pass a motion in at least 4 municipalities calling for zero waste. Moreover, the network has been able to create and develop working groups for the implementation of Zero Waste in various municipalities, as an alternative to the waste management model of municipal waste.

Pile of bottles collected for recycling plant, Netherlands

 

The four municipalities that have already approved the motion are Loeches, Mejorada del Campo, Torres de la Alameda and Velilla de San Antonio. All of them are small municipalities no more than 44km2 and with no more than 23,000 inhabitants. However, they have a lot of environmental problems such as plants for the treatment of sludge from toxic materials, wastewater treatment, the deposit of industrial and dangerous waste, illegal landfills, incinerators and cement kilns burning waste.

 

The approval of the motion brings positive news and hope to the current waste management situation in Madrid. It is a presents a step in the right direction on the way to a Zero Waste reality.

 

The motion in detail

 

The motion recognises the urgent need to stop relying on false solutions, such as lanfills and incinerators. This model effects the environment and the health of the people of neighbouring and nearby municipalities. We therefore need a paradigm shift, and in the motion we ask for:

  1. The creation of a working committee to implement a zero waste model with the participation of local political and civil society groups.
    • The council to be formally required to create a ‘regional waste strategy 2016-2026’ for the City of Madrid. This would replace the current and outdated strategy and set the objective of ‘Zero Waste’ waste management in our region..
  1. An awareness raising campaign should be carried out with citizens participation, where people are informed about the current waste management practice, its impacts, the alternatives, and benefits involved such alternatives.
  2. The municipal waste collection should be evaluated and be run by the municipality and not by external companies. This would include:
    • A study of current and future costs of waste management if it were to be run by the municipality should be conducted. This study should assess its viability and implementation.
    • A review of current waste management contracts and whether they can be modified, to allow a gradual implementation of a zero waste selective collection project.
    • Control and monitoring of the current waste collection to ensure that contracts are enforced, so we would able to confirm that they are not mixing municipal waste and other types of waste (packaging) etc. in its collection.

 

Incineradoras No, Zero Waste Madrid’

 

This Zero Waste Europe member is a network of neighborhood associations, environmental groups, Popular assemblies of 15M, collectives of organic gardens, organisations formed to fight facilities and harmful waste plans, “No Macro-Landfill, Yes Zero Waste” campaign, representatives of political groups and individual zero waste campaigners. Their common goal is the fight against the creation of hazardous waste, against harmful waste facilities and planned facilities primarily located in the Eastern region of Madrid.

 

cartro reciclat

Over the years this network has been a focal point of resistance to environmental damage in the area. It works to submit refutations to waste projects, environmental damage reports, conducting lobbying and organising trainings, rallies and demonstrations aiming to show the popular opposition against these projects.

 

While challenging these facilities, the network has developed, and now promotes an alternative Zero Waste policy to the current waste treatment plans. This should be implemented in all municipalities of the City of Madrid. In this way, Zero Waste Madrid also wants to reach the institutions through the current ‘popular unity’ candidates who are much more open to this project through motions in the municipalities where they are in office.

 

In conclusion, thanks for the wonderful work of ‘Incineradoras No, Zero Waste Madrid’, zero waste is really happening in Madrid!

 


Press Release: New Report Finds, Municipal Solid Waste a Key Sector for a Low Carbon Economy

For Immediate Release 27/10/2015
Download full Press Kit

 

A newly released report has found the waste sector has a key role to play in the development of a low carbon economy and the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The report will be launched at a press conference, organised by Zero Waste France in Paris on Tuesday the 27th. This report comes in advance of the UN Climate Conference in Paris, which will take place in December.

The report was commissioned by Zero Waste Europe, in partnership with Zero Waste France and ACR+. The report finds that the role of waste prevention and improved waste management can play in reducing GHG emissions and the development of a low carbon economy has previously been significantly understated, partly due to the structure of the national inventories of the UNFCCC.

The report further provides an accurate examination of the true impact of waste management on climate change and carbon emissions. It confirms that actions at the top of the waste hierarchy – including waste prevention initiatives, reuse and recycling – have considerable scope to reduce climate change emissions.

As the report states “A climate friendly strategy, as regards materials and waste, will be one in which materials are continually cycling through the economy, and where the leakage of materials into residual waste treatments is minimised”. For example, recycling 1 tonne of plastic packaging can be a saving of 500 kg CO2 eq, whereas using one tonne less plastic packaging results in avoiding 6 times more emissions (3 tonnes CO2 eq).

In the report 11 key recommendations are made, calling for waste policies to be redesigned in order to prioritise the higher level options of the ‘Waste Hierarchy’ (waste prevention, reuse and recycling) and immediately reallocate climate finance subsidies which are currently supporting energy generation from waste. These recommendations put a strong focus on correcting methodological issues that are currently preventing Member states and the European union from implementing waste policies that are efficient in terms of GHG emissions.

The report shows that in the decarbonising economy required to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, technologies such as incineration will become less attractive options and ultimately present an obstacle to a low carbon economy.

 

Reactions

 

Mariel Vilella, Zero Waste Europe’s Associate Director said “For far too long the climate impact of waste management has been overlooked. Now it’s clear that waste prevention, reuse and recycling are climate change solutions that need to be fully integrated into a low carbon economy. Both at the EU and international level, it is time to shift climate finance support to these climate-friendly options instead of waste incineration, which in fact contributes to climate change and displaces livelihoods of recyclers worldwide.”

Delphine Lévi Alvarès, Zero Waste France’s Advocacy Officer,said: “With France hosting the COP21 in December, it is a real opportunity to raise decision makers’ awareness about the real impact of waste management on climate change and the extent to which Zero Waste strategies have to be put on the agenda of solutions to climate mitigation supported by the French government.”

Françoise Bonnet, Secretary general of ACR+ said: “Efficiency and smart waste management is key for a low carbon economy. Still, it is only the tip of the iceberg as a much bigger impact can be achieved through resource efficiency and adopting a life-cycle perspective”.

Links

 

Download the full report, executive summary, or technical appendices

Press Contacts

Zero Waste Europe

Mariel Vilella

Associate Director and Head of Climate Policy Programme

The Potential Contribution of Waste Management to a Low Carbon Economy: report cover page

+44 784 7079-154 – mariel -at- zerowasteeurope.eu

Matt Franklin

Communications & Programme Officer

+44 792 337-3831 – matt -at- zerowasteeurope.eu

Zero Waste France

Delphine Lévi Alvarès

Advocacy officer

+33 7 89 85 06 58 – delphine -at- zerowastefrance.org

ACR+

Françoise Bonnet

Secretary general

+32 474 412 653 – fb -at- acrplus.org

The partners

Zero Waste EuropeZero Waste Europe is an umbrella organisation empowering communities to rethink their relationship with resources. It brings together local Zero Waste groups and municipalities present in 20 EU countries. Beyond recycling, the Zero Waste network aims at reducing waste generation, close the material loop whilst increasing employment and designing waste out of the system. www.zerowasteeurope.eu

Zero Waste France – Zero Waste France (formerly Cniid – Centre national d’information indépendante sur les déchets) was founded in 1997. As an independently funded NGO and a member of Zero Waste Europe, it has been advocating for waste reduction since then, talking to local and national public officials as well as citizens groups or businesses. In 2014 the organization changed its name to Zero Waste France to emphasize its ambition but also the links with the other groups involved in this issue worldwide. Zero Waste France works closely with local stakeholders – among them its 2,000 members (individuals and groups) to encourage and implement Zero Waste strategies at the local level. www.zerowastefrance.org

ACR+ The Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and sustainable Resource management (ACR+) is an international network promoting sustainable resource management through prevention at source, reuse and recycling. Through its activities, ACR+ strives to develop the expertise and skills of public authorities in effective waste-product-resource policies. Building on a 20 year experience, ACR+ launched in November 2014, the Circular Europe Network, a multi-stakeholder platform aiming at supporting local and regional authorities in adopting aspiring circular economy strategies. www.acrplus.org

 


Zero Waste ‘Dream Team’ on Tour

Between the 4th and the 9th of October a team of Zero Waste experts toured the Italian peninsula prior to attending the World Resources Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The “Zero Waste Dream Team” was composed of leading experts in the field of Zero Waste and circular flows of resources.

The “Zero Waste Dream Team”:

  • Captain Charles Moore, Scientist and discoverer of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”

    "Zero Waste Dream Tour" in Sesto Fiorentino
    “Zero Waste Dream Tour” in Sesto Fiorentino
  • Dr. Paul Connett, Professor of environmental chemistry, international proponent of the ’10 steps to Zero Waste’ strategy

  • Rick Anthony, President of Zero Waste International Alliance

  • Ruth Abbe, President of Zero Waste USA

  • Tom Wright, Packaging expert and founder of Responsible-Packaging.org

  • Rossano Ercolini, President of Zero Waste Europe

  • Enzo Favoino, Chair of Zero Waste Europe Scientific Committee

This panel offered a unique possibility for the exchange of ideas and sharing of best practices between European Zero Waste efforts and the pioneering efforts taking place in the USA stemming from the state of California, which have now spread across the country all the way to New York City.

The Italian “Zero Waste Dream Team Tour” included talks in a number of different cities across Italy, many of which having particular significance for the issue of zero waste.

In Parma, the administration of the city have taken on a ‘zero waste strategy’ which includes curbside collection, resulting in reduced residual waste effectively reducing the available fuel for the IREN waste-to-energy incinerator.

Florence, a former stronghold of waste incineration, and home of ex-Mayor, and Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, also played host to the tour, where they engaged with the regional council on the issue of waste management.

The tour also visited Turin, Vercelli and Rome, before ending in Capannori, the first municipality to adhere to a Zero Waste policy in Europe. Discussions took place in front of lively crowds of students, volunteer organizations, environmental associations, local members of council and actively engaged citizens.

Key messages from the panel included the importance for community responsibility to meet industrial responsibility, allowing for the convergence of both downstream recovery and prevention further upstream. The panel emphasized the characteristic value of the Zero Waste movement as “a politics of yes”, which requires collaboration between local politicians and local activists against incineration and in favour of prevention, re-use, recycling and ultimately re-design.

The audience was able to see how Zero Waste concepts are intricately tied with the notion of the circular economy, advocated for at the European and international level. This emphasised how Zero Waste seeks to emulate nature through cradle to cradle resource flows, and in so doing minimizing environmental impact through a “no burn, no bury, no toxins” policy.

The panel emphasized how Zero Waste does not require technologically complex machines, but better organization, education and industrial design. While the responsibility of industrial designers was called upon to design products for circular resource flows, the key message for the public revolved around the importance of individuals separating materials at source. The Zero Waste Dream Team reiterated throughout their tour how reaching Zero Waste requires only the existing forms of technology, and using our brains and hands in segregating materials. Panellists emphasized how more so than physical infrastructure for Zero Waste, social infrastructure is vital in bringing about culture and behaviour change in the development of new habits.

Poster for Cappanori 'Zero Waste Dream Team' event
Poster for Cappanori ‘Zero Waste Dream Team’ event

In this respect, the footage and relics shared by Captain Charles Moore from his many journeys to the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre offered unequivocal evidence of the global impact of waste. His presentation particularly highlighted the importance of the simple gesture of disposing of plastic waste.

I come to you as an ambassador of an area which has no constituents. I am in a state of desperation. All I can do is measure it and tell you the amount. Represent it. As a scientist I am looking for a political movement that can make something happen. The only political movement I can find to ally myself with is the Zero Waste movement.”

– Captain Charles Moore

Throughout the tour the resonating message has been one of hope yet urgency. There is no “away” to throw our rubbish, no end of life and because there is no end of life there is a next life. Zero Waste is ultimately not the end. It is the beginning. The beginning of the ‘politics of yes’. The question the Zero Waste Dream Team will be taking to Davos at the World Resources Forum will be the same as that of their Italian tour:

if you’re not for Zero Waste how much waste are you for?”.


Press Release: Study finds Extended Producer Responsibility needs redesign for Circular Economy

For immediate release: 14 October 2015

A new study commissioned by Zero Waste Europe[1] and released today at a conference in Brussels [2] has found that the majority of product waste is not covered by current Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes and calls for the redesigning of producer responsibility in order to move towards a circular economy.

The study published today [3] analyses the waste composition of 15 European cities showing that 70% of municipal solid waste is product waste, and therefore not food or garden waste, and as such could be included under an EPR scheme. However, on average, only 45% of this product waste (by weight) is currently covered by producer responsibility schemes. This means that, on average, EPR schemes only cover 32.5% of total municipal waste, with coverage varying from 14.9% in Copenhagen to 47.6% in Paris. Furthermore, only 18% of product waste is collected separately through an EPR scheme.

Joan-Marc Simon, director of ZWE said “The current interpretation of EPR was useful to increase recycling rates in Europe over last 20 years but it will need updating for it to help move us towards a circular economy. We call on the European Commission to use the upcoming waste package to include incentives to redesign systems and products in order to drive prevention and reuse, foster a serviced-based economy, put recycling as last option and progressively phase out disposal.”

The report makes a series of recommendations to the European Commission. Among these it calls for a broader definition and a more comprehensive approach to producer responsibility which includes the use of economic instruments. The introduction of legally binding eco-design requirements as well as better EPR schemes with full-cost coverage, individualisation, targets for separate collection and considering expansion of the current EPR scope to include more products and incentivise reuse.

The study also finds that existing EPR schemes have been ineffective in driving eco-design, both because of its limited coverage of product waste and the lack of modulation of EPR fees based on eco-design. Zero Waste Europe urges the European Commission to develop minimum European-wide individualisation criteria based on eco-design.

Contact: Joan-Marc Simon, info@zerowasteeurope.eu, +32 2503-49 11

ENDS

***

NOTES:

1. Zero Waste Europe – Zero Waste Europe is an umbrella organisation empowering communities to rethink their relationship with resources. It brings together local Zero Waste groups and municipalities present in 20 EU countries. Beyond recycling, the Zero Waste network aims at reducing waste generation, close the material loop whilst increasing employment and designing waste out of the system. www.zerowasteeurope.eu

2. Launch event for the report – 14.30 – 17.00 – Brussels, Belgium

3. Download the Full Report or Download Executive Summary


Sao Paulo Apuesta En Serio Por El Compstaje Domiciliario

Dan Moche, Claudio Spínola y Magdalena Donoso*

Septiembre, 2015

Sao Paulo llama la atención por sus grandezas: alberga el mayor parque industrial y financiero del Brasil, es su municipio más poblado y es la sexta ciudad más grande del planeta, donde viven más de once millones de habitantes. Esta grandeza genera también una cantidad de residuos difícil de dimensionar: se producen diariamente 12,3 mil toneladas de residuos domiciliares, de lo cuáles el 51% son residuos orgánicos compostables y el 35% son residuos secos reciclables.

Aunque no siempre los rellenos sanitarios fueron el principal destino de los residuos en Sao Paulo, esta práctica se fue expandiendo hasta llegar a una situación crítica donde el 100% de todo el residuo orgánico, 95% de todo el residuo seco y 100% de todo el rechazo eran, hasta hace 2 años, destinados exclusivamente a los dos rellenos sanitarios existentes, el Relleno CTL (Central de Tratamiento de Residuos Leste) y el relleno Caieiras.

Las motivaciones para revertir esta situación están relacionadas con obligaciones legalesi, pero también con la urgencia de economizar espacio en la región metropolitana extendiendo la vida útil de los rellenos sanitarios; de aprovechar la materia orgánica que aporta nutrientes y mejora las propiedades de los suelos en el estado de Sao Paulo; de unirse a los esfuerzos de reducción de lixiviados y de emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI) en la ciudad. El sistema de manejo de los residuos sólidos de Sao Paulo es el segundo más grande sector emissor de GEI (Inventario municipal, 2012), con 15,6% (14% proveniente de los rellenos). La práctica del compostaje puede disminuir en 5 a 10 veces las emisiones de metano en rellenos sanitarios.ii

Implementación participativa

La implementación de la Política Nacional de Residuos Sólidos (PNRS) dio sus primeros pasos con la participación ciudadana en 58 eventos y más de 7.000 participantes, organizados por la Administración Pública de Sao Paulo. 800 delegados elegidos por miles de paulistanos y apoyados por expertos y técnicos de la autoridad pertinente, acordaron los lineamientos principales respecto de qué hacer con los residuos generados en la ciudad.

Composting workshop with officials from the city of Sao Paulo
Composting workshop with officials from the city of Sao Paulo

Estos puntos constituyeron parte del Plan de Gestión Integrada de Residuos Sólidos de la ciudad de Sao Paulo – PGIRS, publicado a inicios de 2014, y que determinó la recuperación, en veinte años, del 80% de todos los residuos reciclables secos y orgánicos compostables. Entre los lineamientos aprobados destacan la segregación de los residuos orgánicos en las fuentes generadoras, su recogida selectiva universalizada, el compostaje, tratamiento mecánico biológico y fomento al compostaje doméstico.

Composta Sao Paulo”

El compostaje doméstico comenzó a ser alentado por el gobierno de Sao Paulo poco después de la publicación del PGIRS en junio de 2014, mediante la entrega de composteras a viviendas unifamiliares. En seis meses se recuperaron 250 toneladas de residuos orgánicos.


El proyecto llamado
“Composta Sao Paulo” entregó kits de compostaje doméstico con lombrices a 2.006 hogares en la ciudad de São Paulo. A través de una convocatoria pública, el proyecto consiguió en 40 días 10.061 inscripciones en el sitio web, de diversas regiones de São Paulo. Los seleccionados provenían de 539 departamentos y 1.467 hogares de ocho regiones.

La entrega de composteras fue acompañada por 135 talleres de capacitación para más de 5.000 participantes. También se alentó a los participantes a responder las encuestas programadas y asumir el papel de multiplicadores del compostaje doméstico.

Después de dos meses, los participantes del proyecto fueron invitados a otros talleres (88 talleres), donde recibieron consejos y técnicas de plantación en espacios pequeños para el uso del compost producido. Para resolver las dudas e inquietudes se optó por la creación de una comunidad virtual en Facebook. La comunidad de “composteros” terminó el primer año del proyecto con más de 6.000 miembros.

Delivery of compost kits to selected households
Delivery of compost kits to selected households


El levantamiento posterior de información relativo a los resultados del programa indicó que el 89% de los participantes disminuyó notablemente la entrega de residuos para la recolección. No hubo diferencias significativas en la evaluación de la práctica de compostaje entre clases sociales o entre los tipos de viviendas y sólo 47 hogares (2,3%) renunció a la actividad. En tanto, el 97% de los participantes de una encuesta realizada para medir el nivel de satisfacción (1.535 personas), se mostró satisfecho o muy satisfecho con la técnica, el 98% consideró una buena solución para los residuos orgánicos y el 86% la consideró fácil de practicar.

¡Económicamente conveniente!

En su análisis económico, la Municipalidad de Sao Paulo constató que los costos de entrega de composteras, monitoreo y asistencia técnica entregados por el Gobierno local podían ser cubiertos a través de los ahorros logrados en la reducción de la recolección, transporte y disposición final de los residuos orgánicos en rellenos sanitarios. El estudio comparó los costos (estimados) de recolección, transporte y disposicion de residuos orgánicos en rellenos sanitarios con los costos (estimados) de entrega de composteras, comunicación, talleres, etc. Posteriormente, se realizó el cálculo con lo que efectivamente se invirtió para desarrollar las acciones antes mencionadas en el contexto de “Composta Sao Paulo”, trabajando con 2006 hogares. Considerado el efecto “contagioso” que se detalla más adelante, los costos serían igualados en menos de 5 años.iii

La estrategia de comunicación y el efecto contagioso

La vinculación de la práctica del compostaje doméstico con la participación y responsabilidad ciudadana fue una pieza importante de la estrategia comunicacional desarrollada para este programa en cuanto al involucramiento de la población. Además de la novedad del proceso del compostaje mismo, el uso de técnicas modernas de comunicación social despertó atracción por el proyecto, y el deseo de “ser parte”.

El efecto multiplicador no se hizo esperar. Los resultados de la encuesta indicaron que el 29% ayudó a otras personas que no recibieron composteras a hacer, instalar o gestionar una. Los participantes testimoniaron un efecto contagioso, que atrajo a 2.525 nuevos participantes que trataron de montar o comprar su propio sistema de compostaje.

El 27% de los participantes donó lombrices para que otros pudieran iniciar la práctica. Asimismo, los cambios de conducta en otros ámbitos también salieron a la luz: 84% afirmó haber ampliado mucho su conocimiento de la sostenibilidad urbana; 96% se consideró bastante más diligente en manejar adecuadamente los residuos que produce; el 54% dijo que comenzó a comer bastante más frutas y verduras.

Los nuevos “maestros composteros”

Los 2.525 nuevos participantes entusiasmados por los propios integrantes del proyecto son una muestra del potencial del ciudadano de convertirse de simple objeto de política pública a verdadero sujeto en el ejercicio de su ciudadanía: en este caso, de “capacitados” a “maestros composteros”. Al atraer a nuevos participantes y compartir sus aprendizajes, los integrantes del proyecto deben ser reconocidos por lo que efectivamente son: “Maestros Composteros”.

Por su parte, los gestores públicos están llamados a apoyar lo que las mismas personas pueden construir. Basta soñar en grande, empezar por lo pequeño y actuar ahora. El compostaje doméstico es un instrumento de política pública empoderador, forjador de compromisos colectivos, con un efecto multiplicador que alienta la conducta ciudadana responsable desde la alegría, el descubrimiento y el aprendizaje.

Alcalde de Sao Paulo entrega primera compostera

Recuadro

“Estoy muy atenta a mis residuos orgánicos y los residuos de los vecinos. Estoy más crítica con la cantidad de comida a comprar. Tengo afecto por las lombrices.”


“Nos dimos cuenta de que cada vez que íbamos a botar los residuos a la compostera sentíamos un bienestar profundo… algo así como si estuviéramos dejando de ensuciar la ciudad y convirtiendo la basura en flores. Intercambiamos ideas con otras personas que estaban haciendo compostaje y tenían la misma sensación! El compostaje es terapéutico!”

Testimonios de ciudadanos participantes del programa Composta Sao Paulo, 2014.

*Autores: Dan Moche Schneider. Coordinó el área de Residuos Orgánicos en el PGIRS de Sao Paulo. Claudio Spínola. Ideólogo y y operador de “Composta São Paulo”.
Magdalena Donoso, Coordinadora de GAIA para América Latina

i Obligación de recuperar los residuos establecida por la Política Nacional de Residuos Sólidos – PNRS, aprobada en 2010.

ii Inácio, Caio de Teves. O papel da compostagem de resíduos orgânicos urbanos na mitigação de emissão de metano. Caio de Teves Inácio, Daniel Beltrão Bettio e Paul Richard Momsen Miller. Embrapa Solos, 2010. 22 p.

iii Cálculos estimados por Dan Moche, ex Coordinador de Residuos Orgánicos en el PIGRS de Sao Paulo. Análisis económico interno de la Municipalidad de Sao Paulo.