Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Greatest difficulty for recycling in Brazil is misinformation, reveal research

According to a study by IPEA (Institute of Applied Economic Research) released last year, only 13% of all urban solid waste in Brazil is correctly disposed of for recycling. Among the reasons that make it difficult to reverse this scenario, draws attention that one of the main obstacles is the lack of information from the population. altogether, 66% of Brazilians claim to know little or nothing about selective collection and 28% they can't name the colors of the bins for collecting the material. The data are contained in a survey recently released by Ibope Inteligência and commissioned by Cervejaria Ambev.

The study shows that Brazilians know the importance of recycling for the environment and believe that it is a correct practice, but this is not reflected in the day-to-day. in spite of 94% of people agreeing that the right way to dispose of waste is to separate materials that can be recycled and 98% recognize that it is important for the future of the planet., 75% do not separate recyclable materials individually in the garbage they generate at home. of these, 39% don't even separate organic and inorganic waste. Furthermore, 56% do not use any selective collection service.

"It is essential that we know what is the responsibility of each person within this process. Every choice we make on a day-to-day basis contributes to building a better future and only working together between all spheres of society will bring results for all of us.”, says Filipe Barolo, Sustainability Manager at Ambev Brewery.

What waste is recyclable?

One of the main obstacles to overcoming this situation is the lack of knowledge about which materials can be recycled. Only 4% of people know that long life packaging (TetraPak), are recyclable. The index improves when it comes to plastic (77%), glass (64%), paper (50%) and aluminum (47%), but it's still far from the ideal. Only 32% of people know a lot about recyclable PET packaging and 28% about returnable glass packaging. About PET bottles, only 40% claim to know that this type of material can be recycled.

"We always seek to be part of the solution. One of our main concerns is that our product packages find the right destination, which is recycling", a Barolo signature. "In the last years, we took more than 12,4 million tons of circulation glass, striving to increase the volume of returnable glass bottles available on the market. We also stopped producing more than 1,9 billion PET bottles with virgin resin as a result of material recycling. The more people are aware of the correct way to dispose of these products, the greater the positive impact on the environment", complete the professional.

in the end, where does the garbage go?

According to the survey, 59% of people claim not to know who effectively recycles materials and transforms them into new products in Brazil. The chain involved in this process still seems to be a mystery for most of the population, Since 81% of Brazilians claim to know little or nothing about recycling cooperatives. Furthermore, 58% believe that garbage goes to landfill or dump, in spite of 51% not agree that this is the proper destination..

It is true that a considerable part of Brazil's homemade garbage ends up in dumps and landfills, including one that could be recycled, but this is not ideal. The waste that is removed from selective collection points, for example, is intended for recycling cooperatives, that, after sorting and treating the materials, sell them to the industry, that turns them into new products. For this to happen, Nonetheless, garbage must be separated and disposed of correctly..

about this point, there are other challenges that need to be faced.. 49% of people agree that it is not easy to find information about selective collection in their respective cities, while 44% claim that the service is not available or do not know if this occurs in the municipality.

Ambev Brewery and recycling

The survey was commissioned by Cervejaria Ambev to understand the challenges that remain regarding the issue of recycling and to assist in the development of effective actions to solve them.

Social and environmental sustainability is a central pillar of the company's business. in the last five years, the brewery allocated more than R$ 1 billion for projects aimed at this end in its operation. The amount contributed to surpassing six of the seven goals announced in 2013 to be reached in 2017. Now, the brewery announced another important step in this work, with new commitments, which are expected to reach up to 2025. the goals, defined by AB InBev globally, are divided into four pillars, one of which refers specifically to recycling:

  • Circular packaging: 100% of the Ambev Brewery's products must be in returnable packaging or that are mostly made from recycled content.
  • Climate Actions: 100% of the electricity purchased by the Ambev Brewery must come from renewable sources. Furthermore, the brewery will reduce by 25% carbon emissions along our value chain.;
  • water management: measurably improve the availability and quality of water for 100% of communities in high water stress areas with which the brewery is related.
  • Smart agriculture: 100% of the brewery's partner farmers must be trained, connected and with the financial structure to develop an increasingly sustainable planting.

The brewery develops a series of projects related to recycling and has been achieving important results in recent years. The work operates on three central pillars: returnable glass bottles, PET bottles and promotion of recycling cooperatives. Check below.

Returnable glass bottles

From 2014, the company seeks to expand the presence of returnable glass bottles in the market, that can be reused about 20 times. To facilitate product exchange, the brewery invested in installing more than 1000 collection machines across the country, that, in 2017, collected more than 115 millions of containers. currently, near 1 in each 4 bottles sold in the markets are already returnable.

From the beginning of the project, the company withdrew from circulation 12,4 million tons of glass, or equivalent to 32 Morumbi stadiums, located in Sao Paulo, full of solid waste. Furthermore, the brewery maintains Ambev Vidros in Rio de Janeiro, a factory that produces glass bottles from the recycling of shards. factory is one of the largest recyclers of glass shards in Latin America. Approximately 50% of the raw material used in the unit are glass shards, that is, of every ten bottles produced by the Ambev Brewery, five are made entirely from recycled material

Pet bottles

In 2012, Ambev launched the first PET 100% recycled from the Brazilian market, with Guarana Antarctica, e, since then, has already stopped producing 1,9 billion PET bottles. This effort avoided the use of more than 94 thousand tons of virgin material, making room for more bottles made from recycled material. This amount is equivalent to the waste generated by more than 245 a thousand people in a year.

currently, 56% of the Guaraná Antarctica PET bottles produced by the company is bottled in this type of packaging. PET production 100% brings several benefits to the environment, such as the release of 30m³ in a landfill for every five tons of PET that are no longer discarded in the garbage.. Furthermore, the manufacture of this bottle consumes 70% less energy and 20% less water compared to virgin resin.

Recycled material is also used in other lines. In the energetic Fusion, for example, all packaging is already produced with recycled material. In Soda Lemonade, this rate reaches more than 50%. currently, near 33% of the total PET production of the Ambev Brewery is made from recycled material. From 2012, this number grew 725%.

Recycle through Brazil

in october of 2017, Ambev signed a Coca-Cola Brazil partnership and launched a joint recycling program. Named Recycle for Brazil, the unified platform has a partnership with the National Association of Recyclable Material Collectors (Ancat). currently, the program is integrated by 110 cooperatives and more than 2500 cooperated. Of these, about half are women (54%) and the work spans 61 cities in Brazil, triando 41 thousand tons of recycled material since the beginning of the project.

The expectation is that the cooperatives that are part of the initial stage of the program will receive up to 25% over investments. In addition to boosting investments, Reciclar Pelo Brasil also aims to collaborate with the goal of the Sector Packaging Agreement, which is to reduce, not minimal, 22% from packaging disposed in landfills to 2018. The main goals are: increasingly professionalize and regularize the work of organizations; increase the volume of collected waste; raise the revenue of cooperatives; and increase the income of collectors.

original content EcoDesenvolvimento.org. Learn more aboutODS 12, or entercontact us for more information.