news Published on February 12, 2021

The Future of Waste Management in Latin America and Central America

Nowadays, it is commonly known that the overaccumulation of waste is a prevalent issue of today that will have a lasting impact on future generations. Circular Economy has been a popular topic among most governments and industries, as experts are constantly seeking new methods of managing and reducing waste that ends up in the world’s landfills. An increasing number of regulations, laws and initiatives worldwide have been made over the past several years to combat this issue.

A report that was recently published by the Holland Circular Hotspot and endorsed by embassies of the Netherlands was written in collaboration with waste management experts such as Linda Breukers (Holland House Waste Window), Mr. Herman Huisman (A4Waste) and Mr. Bert Keesman (MetaSus). The intent of this report is to provide an alternative perspective and analysis concerning the current methods of waste collection and recycling in Latin America, and how current processes can be adapted based on innovations that are being executed in the Netherlands.

This publication contains information regarding the state of the market and current waste collection practices in Latin American and Central American countries such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Panama and Peru. The different categories of waste collection that are analyzed in each country are waste disposal, recycling of general waste and electronics, composting, and processing construction and demolition waste. The topic of circular economy is certainly acknowledged by governments, businesses, and citizens of these countries, however, there are continuous efforts that can be made. The report provides specific recommendations for growth and adaption of each country based on their economy, landscape, and infrastructures.

One framework that the report uses to assess each country is the Maturity Matrix for Waste and Circular Economy. This framework was made to help Dutch exporters compare waste and circular economy markets. Based on the findings of this framework, 13 different recommendations were made, with the most prominent conclusions being the following:

Each country should be primarily focused on establishing a financially independent, well-structured waste management system that can cover a wide selection of different waste services. Furthermore, the approach should be a combined public-private approach that professionalizes the sector promotes employment and business opportunities. Lastly, the report strongly emphasizes that these countries of the Latin American region should execute these plans in a collaborative and cooperative manner.  

On 11 February 2021, Holland Circular Hotspot provided a webinar to discuss this topic and reveal additional findings. For more in-depth information about each country and their recommendations, a link to the report by Holland Circular Hotspot can be found in the link below: