Argentinian recycling co-op wages war on plastic waste

Fortaleza co-operative, in the city of Corrientes, classifies, bales and sells rubbish for recycling

A waste recycling co-op in Corrientes, a city on Argentina’s northern border, is playing a key role in efforts to eliminate plastic pollution from the streets.

The Fortaleza co-operative was founded 11 years ago and has grown from a team of 11 founding members to 51. They clean and classify all the plastic they receive before baling it for recycling.

Now the local authority has chosen Fortaleza to take part in its Recycling Together project, which is being trialled in two of the city’s districts.

Founder member Mercedes Romero Pereyra told local news website Norte de Corrientes: “We started from the bottom, training ourselves, and little by little we learned the value of the things that people throw out.”

The new project will see householders separate and wash the the refuse, remove any labels and lids and then put everything inside the green bags provided by the local authority. These will be collected and taken by truck to the recycling centre where the co-op sort and classifies the plastic.

The waste is put into a press which compacts 400kg of plastic every 40 minutes, and the bales are collected into lots of 32 tonnes ready for sale – with the profit generating income for the co-op.

Members of Fortaleza say they hope the initiative will deliver a cleaner and greener city. “We are seeing the fruits of a job that took us many years, now we are excited about this pilot test, for which we are very prepared,” they said.

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