I just came from Brazil where I was invited to deliver a lecture on “Recycling and personal behavior” during the conference ““Waste Management towards a (re)cyclical system”, which was held in Sao Paulo by the Brazilian member of ISWA ABRELPE.

Waste Management in Brazil seems to have finished its childhood – almost 50% of the huge waste volume of the country is now driven to sanitary landfills and there is a growing interest for waste treatment facilities. Recycling makes remarkable steps forward and the tension between formal and informal sector participation should be creatively resolved because the mutual interest is dominating the real conflict (this was also a very important issue of the conference).
During a visit to the Sao Paulo newest operating landfill, my colleagues from ISWA were surprised by the quality of operation and environmental control to a landfill that receives almost 7.000 tons of waste daily. And definitely it is surprising to know that this megafill is privately operated and state of the art gradually constructed, covering an area of almost 3 km2.

Indicative of what is the current level of discussion in the country is that a new law that prohibits landfilling of every material that has economic value is on the way to be implemented.

ABRELPE has just created a very comprehensive report with the title “PANORAMA of waste management in Brazil” in which the whole picture of waste management is described with the appropriate level of detail, providing a useful tool for everyone who wants to know more.
I have to admit that I was impressed by the active participation and the interest that ABRELPE has managed to raise regarding solid waste management. Important government officials as well as decision-makers and private sector stakeholders were involved to fruitful and I hope productive discussions. ABRELPE seems to be on the right way of growth and gaining influence and as an ISWA Board member I am proud to have those guys as partners and work with them.

Last but not least: Alberto Bianchini (former president of ABRELPE) and Carlos Da Silva are not only the soul of ABRELPE but also wonderful hosts. Their hospitality was more than generous and I really enjoyed their company. Guys it is a pleasure to work with you...

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