New work by SIMBIO Brazil team addresses the impact of the pandemic on solid waste management and waste pickers in the country

The article “A Perspective of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Plastic Waste Management and Cooperatives of Waste Pickers in Brazil”, recently published in the journal “Circular Economy and Sustainability”, presents an analysis of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Cooperatives of Recyclable Material Waste Pickers and the challenges of plastic recycling during this period in Brazil.

Considering that in 2020 Brazil became the global epicenter of Covid-19, this scenario directly affected the habits of the population. One of them was the increase in the consumption of plastics due to its importance in packaging and in applications as protective material. At the same time, the country also faces the worsening of social problems related to waste management, especially due to the important role played by waste pickers in this chain.

“The waste pickers are professionals who need visibility and social protection not only to face the current health crisis, but also to guarantee their income and survival”, points out Lais Roncalho, postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Chemistry at the Federal University of São Carlos (DQ – UFSCar), member of the Center for the Development of Functional Materials (CDMF) and first author of the article.

For the elaboration of the work, the researcher says that data collection was carried out based on the literature in order to organize the history of waste management in Brazil, as well as the current challenges of the health crisis. Data from CEMPRE (Business Commission on Recycling), ABRELPE (Brazilian Association of Special Waste and Public Cleaning Companies) and other organizations were also used to build a critical analysis of the topic.

“In this study, we point out the lack of data on waste management in the country and highlight the importance of the social inclusion of waste pickers for an effective Circular Economy. After the pandemic and the change in scenario that has been taking place, we concluded that we need adequate planning and improvements in waste management, recycling programs and political intervention to guide collective responsibility and, thus, guarantee the social rights of waste pickers”, concludes Lais Roncalho. The article also has the contribution of researchers Sandra A. Cruz, professor at the DQ – UFSCar and also linked to the CDMF, and Rafaela F. Gutierrez, a reseacher at the University of Toronto.

Fig. Scheme that can contribute to the Circular Economy in Brazil.

To access the full article, click HERE. And the original post (in portuguese) HERE.