The story began in 2005, when Fundación Hábitat y Desarrollo (Habitat and Development Foundation) presented in the city of Santa Fe city a project to pilot a recycling campaign to separate the collection of plastic bottles (PET), Tetra Brick, aluminum and returnable glass containers. The initiative was inspired by a project called “San Isidro Recycle” that the NGO implemented in San Isidro neighborhood in the greater Buenos Aires area.
The Santa Fe campaign was launched in “7 Jefes” neighborhood and included 9,000 families later in 2007, 9,000 families from “Canidioti Sur” neighborhood were also included in the project. The Asociación Civil Dignidad y Vida Sana (Civil Association for Dignity and Healthy Life) collected and transported waste to their facilities where they get the materials ready for recycling.
“The Municipality was in charge of collecting dry waste twice a week. In addition, we put containers with a frog shape outside the neighborhoods”, says Julieta Di Filippo, coordinator for Foundation Habitat y Desarrollo.
In 2009, the project won $2,500 dollars in the “Eco Compromiso” contest financed by the Civil Society Fund of the World bank, - that aims to reward innovative initiatives from NGO that promote better environmental conditions in urban and poor communities.
“Being one of the winners of the competition gave us the impetus to show to the community that the program was important and sustainable in the long-term, and to position ourselves as an organization for consultation on the subject of urban waste”, considers Di Filippo.
In particular, money was used to build more frog shape containers, claimed by neighbors that lived outside the selected areas for separate collection. They also used part of the award to create a children theater piece to raise awareness about waste separation.
“All these efforts contributed to boost the Municipality willingness to implement separate recollection of garbage in 16 neighborhoods in 2010”, explains Di Filippo. One year later, the campaign spread to the whole city thanks to the governmental program “Green Change”, carried together with 110 people from Asociación Dignidad y Vida Sana.
Now the NGO supports the implementation of the system with an educational program called “Thinking green” and by training a variety of stakeholders in waste issues. Moreover, they recently became involved in reducing plastic bags in the city.
With an official program running in Santa Fe, the frog shape containers will be moved a few kilometers outside of the city. “The containers can still be used so we are taking them to Rincón community where we’ll promote waste recycling”, states Di Filippo, who has her office at the Ecological Reserve at El Pozo University City.
The mission of Fundación Habitat y Desarrollo is to develop initiatives to conserve natural areas and to promote incentives that encourage the private sector to participate in conservation efforts, in support of efforts by the state, in order to face the enormous challenge of taking care of natural landscapes and biodiversity for the people.