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Global Organizations Announce $8.4 Mil Grant to Give South American Recyclers Dignity

May 27, 2011

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Coca-Cola Company, Fundación Avina, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), launched a coalition that aims to improve the lives of the at least 4 million people who make a living off of recycling.

In some regions, up to 90% of recycled materials are procured by informal collectors but those same people reap little of the benefits. The hours are long, conditions are filthy, and the work is sometimes dangerous–to the entire family as everyone is often involved.

At an MIF conference in Asuncion, Paraguay, this band of private companies and NGOs announced it would round up consumer packaged goods companies, recyclers, municipalities, and civil society organizations to formulate action plans that will absorb informal trash collectors into the recycling value chain. Some projects are already underway across South America, and this coalition will use the successful initiatives as case studies.

Should the plan succeed, the economic and working conditions of informal recyclers will improve, the private sector will be engaged and work with the collectors, and regulatory frameworks will evolve ensuring that people will receive a fairer share from their hard and gritty work.

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