Recycling in Brasil: Plastics Supply Chain


 Although recycling is considered the core of a circular economy for returning materials to the supply chain, its procedures are poorly understood. Waste recycling is con­sidered a big source of energy saving and a promoter of CO2 recovery. Besides that, it generates jobs and chang­es markets worldwide. The Brasilian National Policy on Solid Waste (PNRS in Portuguese) recognizes Waste Pickers as the major social agent in the recycling process responsible for putting Brasil among one of the largest recycling countries in the world. We present an analysis of Brasilian recycling chains of plastics. The research data were obtained from primary and secondary sources relat­ed to the recycling supply chain of plastics, through field visits to enterprises of various sizes in the five Brasilian geographic regions during 2013 and 2014, and following the HDPE chain in the Southeast Region in 2020. A nomenclature is defined for the various enterprises that operate in the Brasilian recycling chain and each node of the chain is described. Beyond the sorting node, the

plastics recycling chain tends to disperse in the Brasil­ian territory, and even in the most industrialized region (Southeast), the material can travel up to 400 kilometers. The main bottleneck observed in these chains is the lack of continuous programs of selective collection with an emphasis on environmental education processes in the 5,570 Brasilian municipalities. When the covid- 19 pan­demic arrived to Brasil, the decisions were individualized in all levels of government, which aggravated even more this discontinuity in selective collection programs. Many municipalities stopped the selective collection, which induced the generators to stop the waste segregation at source as well. However, selective collection either con­tinued with autonomous Waste Pickers or associations of Waste Pickers. This territorial fragmentation in sorting hindered the circularity of materials to their respective recycling productive chains. Several possibilities not only to promote waste recycling but also to increase the pro­ductivity of the sorting process are discussed

Author(s): Emília Wanda Rutkowski

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