A social innovation that solved urgent peruvian waste issues, brought thousands into jobs and improved the lives of nearly 6,000,000 people. An idea worth copying.
Solid waste management is a serious problem in Peru. Before Ciudad Saludable started its work, some 1,000 tons of garbage were being generated daily in Cono Norte, one of Lima’s largest slums. Only half of it got collected by official municipal workers. Remainders usually were left to accumulate in stinking waste heaps or strewn along public roads and in vacant lots. Futhermore waste often gets dumped into rivers, contaminating the the drinking sources for many poor families. This situation exists in towns throughout the country.
People neither wanted to or couldn’t afford to pay for public waste collection nor had they an awareness of its importance on health issues. Levels of education are low while unemployment and poverty are usually very high.
Ciudad Saludable turned these problems into an profitable opportunity. By working in partnership with municipalities, it brought over 1,500 waste collectors in those slums into employment. Their work in return steadily improved health and living conditions for the over 6 million disadvantaged people living in these areas.
Ciudad Saludable provides highly efficient »low-tech trash collection and processing« as well as waste management services that are more dependable and less expensive than those provided by municipal governments. It encourages people to pay a modest fee by using creative and educating marketing incentives that emphazise the health benefits of waste collection. Paying customers sometimes get rewarded by planting trees in front of their houses and prompt payers even receive gifts such as kitchen baskets.
6 Million peoples living conditions have been improved, thousands of jobs were generated and the general level of education and awareness regarding the reasonable handling of waste raised remarkably. While in upscale suburbs where the city government collects the trash, waste collection payment rates are below 40%, the rates in Ciudad Saludable’s microenterprises districts are over 80% now. The successful model now also gets replicated all over the world, e. g. in India with Wasteventures.org.