Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the economic heart of Bolivia and it is one of the most successful and sustainable boom towns of South America. It is the largest city of the country localized in the eastern tropical lowlands. This strategic location attracts investments and companies. The fast growth and the high economic activity lead to the emphasis of big environmental challenges as the waste management.
Besides, the Bolivian volume of solid waste is generated at 80% in urban areas and 80% of the total ends up in landfills without valorization, according to Swiss Contact (a Swiss NGO) in 2011. Since this study, supported by environmental regulation requirements for companies, the solid waste management chain is improving thanks to organizations such as FUNDARE. This foundation for recycling was initiated by Swiss Contact and depends on the Chamber of Industry, Commerce, Services and Tourism of Santa Cruz. We had the opportunity to met Tamara, one of FUNDARE project managers in Santa Cruz.
Since 2009, FUNDARE is focused on the optimization of businesses waste recycling strategy in Santa Cruz. The foundation promotes company’s social responsibility, brings its expertise and raises awareness on waste valorization & sorting.
FUNDARE articulates the recycling chain by promoting the interaction between recyclable waste generators, collectors and recycling companies. FUNDARE offers its service to companies with the goal to strengthen business competitiveness through their environmental policy. For instance, optimizing the whole management chain of solid waste leads to an economical valorization of waste and reduce environmental impacts.
In order to optimize the sorting of recyclable waste, FUNDARE develops the implementation of a Recyclable Waste Management System for companies and supports them to promote their societal responsibility. Moreover, FUNDARE develops other environmental projects, as the management of electronic devices.
As a foundation, FUNDARE has also charity initiatives. One of them is supporting the Santa Cruz Collectors, the most vulnerable link of the recycling chain, often mothers and elderly people. The foundation provides also school programs, conferences and workshops to raise awareness on environmental issues.
WHAT NOW ?
Today, the lack of infrastructures and the presence of informal actors in the sector is a brake in Bolivia to implement an optimized waste management chain. Besides, FUNDARE do not implement circular projects for the solid waste management because all waste are exported in Brazil for revalorization (expect those who can be reuse).
To put pressure on the environmental impacts of companies, by promoting the corporate responsibility, is one of the levers of FUNDARE to change the “business as usual”. The regulation requirements recommended by the foundation leads to make companies real actors of the local waste management system. Nevertheless, all actors of the city need to be mobilized including citizens and municipalities, to define and develop an efficient waste management chain. Thanks its status, dependent on the CAINCO, and its initiatives such as school programs & workshops, FUNDARE could be the facilitator of these challenging and massive projects at the urban area level.