Markets for Recycling: Waste Management in the Transportation Sector

Markets for Recycling supports recycling and waste management in Bolivia, focusing on the existing potential to manage waste in a systemic and viable way, creating benefits in the economic, social and environmental areas throughout the waste value chain.
Departamento de La Paz, Bolivia
Departamento de Cochabamba, Bolivia 
Departamento de Santa Cruz, Bolivia 
Project duration
2019 - 2024

The project

In the last 10 years, the number of vehicles circulating in Bolivia has grown exponentially up to1.8 million. This figure is expected to increase to 2.6 million in 2030. 80% of these vehicles are driven in the larger cities of La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. They generate a large amount of waste during their life cycle, such as tires, lead batteries and scrap metal, which are difficult to manage due to their complex and often toxic components. Currently, only a small part is reused or processed properly, which causes environmental and health problems.

This is where the project comes in. Vehicle owners, companies and institutions are made aware of how to manage waste from the transport sector. Many raw materials can be reused if they are recycled. The project encourages green businesses to improve their business models for waste recycling. Thanks to improved access to markets, research and innovation and specific advisory services, they increase their competitiveness and, thus, create more income and new jobs.

The Markets for Recycling project began in 2019, with the aim of strengthening green business ecosystems in Bolivia, in the municipalities of La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, using a circular economy approach.

The project applies Swisscontact's market systems development approach and is based on work in waste value chains from the transport sector, such as batteries, tires, as well as ferrous and non-ferrous scrap.

The project aims to strengthen the ecosystem of green businesses that offer goods or services in the areas of recycling, water, energy, urban mobility. It also supports green businesses in other environmental sectors that generate positive impact and incorporate good social and economic practices using a circular economy approach, contributing to the conservation of the environment.

Markets for Recycling works in coordination with allied institutions that provide awareness, business development and regulatory framework services. In a stimulating business environment, green businesses can have access to training programs, advertising, technology, financing, research and innovation services, increasing their income and generating jobs, reducing the environmental impact and contributing to the mitigation of climate change.

The project promotes the correct separation of waste from the transport sector such as batteries, tires and scrap metal with a suitable eco-friendly final destination or allocates them as raw material to green companies or businesses that will later transform the waste, obtaining added value by reducing CO2 emissions.

Project partners

  • Public sector: Ministry of Environment and Water (MMAYA); Departmental Autonomous Government of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz
  • Universities: Agreement with the universities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.
  • Departmental Chambers of Industry and Commerce: Kiosco Verde; Cierva Fundare Santa Cruz.
  • Business development providers: Trabajo Empresa Foundation (FTE); Amigarse Foundation; Mayan Foundation, Hub 7

Expected Results

  • 30 Green Businesses, 5 of which are led by women, increase their income by 20%.
  • 400 jobs improve in quality (decent work) and 80 new jobs are created.
  • 4,000 tons of used tires and of used vehicle batteries as well as 25,000 tons of recycled scrap nationwide
  • 9,700 tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) reduced by proper waste management
  • 15,000 vehicle users and 70 companies and institutions separate and deliver their waste to green businesses or collection points.

Financing partners

This project is financed by the Republique et Canton de Genève, the Esperanza Foundation, and the Foundation for the Third Millennium, among other donors. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA. 


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