Creating the Circular Action Hub
Project date: June 2019 – September 2021
Funder/s: P4G – Partnering for Green Growth
Collaborator/s: Verra, Danone, Veolia, Nestlé, Tetra Pak, Lloyd’s Register, Conservation International, South Pole, Systemiq, Natural Capital Partners, and McKinsey.org
Project type: Tool
Waste generation has increased massively worldwide in recent decades, and there are no signs of it slowing down. By 2050, worldwide municipal solid waste generation is expected to have increased by roughly 70 per cent to 3.4 billion metric tons*.
What happens to this waste varies greatly from country to country. Still, we know that the rates of collection, recycling and landfill disposal are very low in developing countries, causing widespread environmental impact. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation is being introduced in more and more countries, but in many cases, producers are so far removed from their product waste that it is difficult to find meaningful ways to comply.
We also know that there are millions of informal waste workers in the world, many of whom remove waste from the environment and sell it to recycling services to provide themselves with a small income.
Production and recovery of waste within developing countries were not linked.
Building on the learnings from the creation in 2012 of the Reverse Logistics Credits system in Brazil as part of the 3R Initiative, BVRio wanted to develop a mechanism to connect local waste recovery and recycling initiatives with potential investors and corporates.
With social benefit at the heart of the design, the primary objective was to strengthen the operational capacity of local circular economies by facilitating corporate investments and providing innovative finance solutions for a more effective and socially responsible waste management economy.
Additionally, the platform aimed to;
- Incentivise the set-up and running of local recovery and recycling projects
- Increase the local supply of recyclable content, thus making it feasible to attract investments in recycling capacity to the region
- Create local markets for different kinds of waste (for example, plastic, aluminium, glass, e-waste, etc)
- Empower local SMEs and cooperatives by connecting them with investors
- Showcase the work of the projects through a directory and communication activities
- Help raise further awareness of the plastic waste issue, locally and globally
- Provide a platform for accessing the 3R Crediting Mechanism (Innovative Finance)
The Circular Action Hub was launched in August 2020, quickly attracting projects from all over the world with a wide range of waste recovery focus areas, from the recovery of difficult-to-recycle post-consumer plastic film waste by a cooperative in Myanmar to E-waste collection and recycling in Brazil.
Within 12 months, there were over 100 projects listed on the Hub, with a capacity to recover and recycle over half a million tonnes of solid waste each year. It now recognises four voluntary standards and credits schemes and houses a number of guidance documents developed for the benefit of initiatives and corporates.
Two pilot projects were run during the first year of the Hub’s operation.
BVRio facilitated compliance for Bebidas Reflexa regarding its obligation of reverse logistics of post-consumer packaging, through the issuance of Circular Credits based on plastic waste recovery activities performed by waste picker cooperatives. The services included elaborating a plan, including a term of commitment with the competent authorities at the state level, the execution and the demonstration of the fulfilment of the reverse logistics through the Circular Credits system.
Running until June 2022, The PREVENT Waste Alliance project ‘Plastic Credits for inclusive and transparent circularity’ involved 14 cooperatives, in Brazil and Mexico, with 350+ operatives collecting and sorting a range of plastic waste. In total, the project saw over 1,700 tonnes of waste recycled which is turned into Plastic Credits.
The Circular Action Hub continues to be run by BVRio. Projects can be added free of charge to the directory and state the support they are looking for. A BVRio group company, Circular Action, was created to provide waste footprint services to primary producers and will connect the projects within the Hub with clients in specific geographic areas, or by the type of materials that they recycle.