Solid Waste Management in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Aug 2015
Núñez, Anamaría;Osuji, Onyemauchechukwu
This document is a collection of available data on solid waste management in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The following bullet points contain a brief description of the most relevant data: The regional average per capita generation of Domestic Solid Waste (DSW) and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is 0.6 kg/cap/day and 0.9 kg/cap/day, respectively. DSW represents, on average, 67% of the MSW generated in the region. The MSW regional average collection rate is 89.9% (as a percentage of the population). Compared with a worldwide average of 73.6%, LAC has a high level of coverage, reflecting the priority the region gives to this service. LAC's coverage is higher than that of Africa (46%), South Asia (65%), and the Middle East and Northern Africa (approximately 85%). Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela have MSW collection rates close to 100% (universal coverage). About 53% of LAC's population receives 2to-5-days a week waste collection service, 45% daily service and 2% once-a-week service. Separate MSW collection, commonly known as selective collection is still uncommon in the region. However, there are cases like that of Brazil, where 62% of municipalities implement selective MSW collection programs. Average unitary collection costs have been estimated at US$34 per collected ton, with high cost variance between countries. For example, the cost in Argentina is US$54, while in Paraguay is only US$6.6 (a US$47 difference). These variations typically reflect differences associated with the (higher-lower) quality of service. Adequate MSW final disposal coverage (i.e., in landfills) is approximately 55% (as a percentage of the population), which means that there is still a large amount of waste that is not disposed and/or treated adequately (45%). The average final disposal cost is US$20.4 per ton disposed. There is a first group of countries where disposal costs are around US$10 (US$5.6 in Ecuador, US$11.4 in Chile), a second group where it costs around US$20 (US$18.8 in Costa Rica, US$23.3 in Colombia), and then there¿s Brazil, where costs are, on average, considerably higher (US$31.5). In several LAC countries MSW management costs are directly afforded by the municipality. The average cost recovery is 51.6%xii. Municipalities typically use property taxes as the main revenue collection system. This collection mechanism represents 52.1% of the total, followed by direct billing to users, with 20.2%; the electricity bill (15.3%); and the water & sanitation bill (12.4%).