Programme Index Listing

Main implementer
Under Swisscontact & financed by SDC (50%) and other donors (50%)
2009 - 2018 (3 phases)
Total budget
USD $4.5 million
Annual budget
average USD $466,666

Project description / objective

Establish a market for solid waste and waste water recycling in Bolivia in order to improve the environment and citizens’ health.

Market system focus

1: Recyclable solid waste (2009 – 2016)

In Bolivia an average of 660 tons/day of solid waste (paper, paperboard, plastic) is generated. It is disposed of in the streets, rivers and open-air dumps. There is a lack of differentiated waste collection systems organised by municipalities and enterprises. There is also a lack of education and information for citizens. As a result, waste collection is performed informally and in unhealthy conditions. 

2: Electrical and electronic equipment wastes (from 2013 - 2017)

Almost 2,000 tons of waste is generated by public and private enterprises per year. The absence of recycling results in the pollution of air, soil and water bodies. An informal market for waste metal has been identified, but enterprises that are devoted to electrical and electronic equipment dismantling do not have the necessary tools and their staff has not been trained. 

3: Waste water (2017)

One of the most important environmental problems in Bolivia is the lack of sewage systems. A significant percentage of these waters are used for agricultural irrigation - resulting in a risk to citizen's health. The few waste water treatment plants that exist are deficient or overloaded.

There is a lack of technical skills, both in public and private sectors, for adequate building, operation and maintenance of waste water treatment plants. Citizens are not sufficiently aware of how the sewerage system should be used and maintained. 

Programme interventions

1. Recyclable solid waste

  • Awareness raising and information provision for citizens on waste separation at source and subsequent delivery
  • Institutional capacity strengthening to establish a system of differentiated collection of recyclable solid waste (including the regulatory framework) and training for municipality staff
  • Strengthening of the capacity of waste collectors. Formalisation of green businesses in order to improve working conditions. Training for businesses devoted to recycling and collection of solid waste.

2. Electrical and electronic equipment waste

  • Awareness raising and information provision for citizens on the risks and the proper ways to separate and deliver this type of waste
  • Institutional capacity strengthening with a view to establishing a system of special waste recycling (including the regulatory framework). It includes the collection, recycling and trading of different electrical and electronic equipment components.
  • Capacity building of recycling operators (training, equipment and infrastructure). Support for their formalisation and certification as authorised operators.
    Note: the cost of equipment and infrastructure is financed by the project (almost 50 per cent) and public and private stakeholders (almost 50 per cent) - for example, by municipalities. The project does not finance expensive equipment and infrastructure, just the basic work required for implementing activities. 

3. Waste water

  • Awareness raising and information provision for citizens regarding the risks of untreated waste water and citizen responsibility for supporting a better management system
  • Institutional strengthening for the creation of a waste water recycling system (including the regulatory system), which includes innovations for decentralised treatment and re-utilisation of water
  • Strengthening of identified service providers. Training of the formal and informal sectors to improve working conditions and increase knowledge and experience.  

Notable results (systemic change, poverty impact)

Market system 1

  • Linkages and coordination between stakeholders that generate waste, operators and public/private institutions
  • Participation and implementation of differentiated collection systems in 11 Bolivian municipalities
  • Information and awareness raising in 519,226 households, 170,029 of which separate recyclable waste
  • Collection and valorisation of 24,000 tons of recyclable waste
  • Formalisation and social inclusion of women who collect recyclable waste (known as 'eco-collectors')
  • Generation of the first National Law of Solid Waste, in coordination with the Ministry of Environment and Water. This includes recognition of the responsibilities of waste generators and waste separators, at source.
  • Creation of three inter-mediation networks within local Chambers of Industry and Trade: Cierva (Cochabamba), Kiosko Verde (La Paz) and Fundare (Santa Cruz). These networks link suppliers with stakeholders that require solid waste. They also offer advisory services to green businesses and organise business meetings with solid waste sector stakeholders.
  • Strengthening of 38 green businesses that collect, treat, use and/or recycle solid and organic waste, generating 79 jobs (28 per cent involves the participation of women).
  • Municipalities and green businesses have co-financed initiatives related to integral solid waste management costing more than USD 10 million.

Market system 2 

  • Development of an integral management system for electrical and electronic equipment waste, including separation at source, treatment and/or usage
  • Development of management systems at municipal level for this waste
  • Development and approval of a regulation for authorised operators allowing them to manage larger amounts of solid waste
  • Five operators of this type of waste have been trained and promoted. They improved the service they offered for recycling of this type of waste. 
  • Collection of 603 tons of this type of waste at national level

Market system 3    

  • Generation of treatment models for waste water in different sectors (municipal, industry and enterprises)
  • Training and inclusion in the private sector as providers of services related to integral sewage water management (masons, plumbers and consulting firms)

Report on phase 2

Project videos