Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Brazil Establishes Fund for Recycling Cooperatives



Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced today the creation of a 225 million reais ($128 million) line of credit for recycling cooperatives—groups representing self-employed collectors of recyclable materials. The line of credit will be available over the next two years and will be financed by loans from the Brazilian Development Bank, known as the BNDES. More details of today’s announcement are forthcoming.

The collectors, or catadores, work throughout the country, pushing two-wheel carts to collect the country’s recycling. According to the government news agency, Agencia Brasil, there were 230,000 collectors in Brazil as of last year.

President Lula also called on mayors to form local cooperatives and to not outsource the collectors’ work to private companies. “If a mayor decides to terminate the employment of 200 to 300 employees in the recycling industry and give the job to a private company, then what will happen is instead of providing a salary to 300 individuals you would be helping only one,” according to Lula.

His timely announcement comes just as countries are gearing up for the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and comes on top of other environmental initiatives. In the new Americas Quarterly, U.S. Senator John Kerry hailed Brazil’s efforts to reduce deforestation rates, a major contributor of carbon emissions.

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