The Regional Initiative for Inclusive Recycling (IRR) – a project set up by the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)’s Water and Sanitation Division, the AVINA Foundation and The Coca-Cola Company – has released an assessment report two years after its launch.

The report, presented during a joint meeting with the Global Alliance for Recycling and Sustainable Development (GARSD), outlines the project’s ongoing work to improve living standards and the perception of recyclers in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as integrate them into the formal recycling market.

The IRR has invested $8.4 million to implement programs in 12 countries. This work focuses on: improving the socioeconomic situation of recyclers; supporting local and federal governments with the development of inclusive public policies; and improving the role of the private sector and integration into the value chain.

Through strategic projects such as training and formalizing recyclers, creating tools to drive inclusion, sharing best practices, and publicity events and activities, the IRR has added six companies which will co-invest in strategic projects benefiting 2,600 recyclers in 20 municipalities across the region. The companies also will train 260 recyclers and 270 municipal public servants and carry out regional and national events.

“The IRR seeks to work with recyclers, local and federal levels of government and the private sector to generate dignified work which is economically viable for recyclers... promote sustainable development... and integrate this sector into the formal waste management market,” said Jane Olley, IRR coordinator and regional spokesperson.

To build a deeper understanding of the informal recycling sector and thus improve future projects, the IRR and Accenture also launched the Inclusive Recycling in Latin America and the Caribbean Study. The report analyzes the recycling sector in 15 countries: Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Haiti, Costa Rica, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.