BVRio at INC-3

BVRio’s circular economy team was in Nairobi last week participating in the UN Environment Programme Third Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) meeting. Attending to help champion the specific inclusion of solutions which involve and benefit informal waste pickers in the global treaty to tackle plastic pollution, including a new approach to plastic waste recovery activities. 

As part of the PREVENT Waste Alliance ‘Core Group on Verified Plastic Recovery’, BVRio co-hosted a side event introducing the concept of a new set of Minimum Requirements for Plastic Waste Recovery Certification, designed to ensure the environmental and social impact of waste management recovery activities, and the financial mechanisms that support them. 

Read and have your say on the guidelines – deadline 10 December 2023

The requirements have been developed by the group throughout 2023 and were drawn upon the experience and learnings from a number of organisations involved in waste management operations and/or certification. Among them, some implemented pilot projects with Prevent in 2021, as the one managed by BVRio in Brazil and Mexico, which engaged14 waste picker cooperatives, with 350+ members recovering and recycling over 1700 tons of mixed plastic. The approach is to simplify and standardise the process of validation of waste management projects in order to improve recycling rates of lower value plastics, increase the amount of funding available to projects collecting and recycling it, and to restore trust in the system, which has recently been damaged due to the poor execution of some ‘plastic credit’ schemes.

As part of the proceedings, the team attended a reception organised by the International Alliance of Waste Pickers joining other organisations working with waste pickers in emerging markets to help deliver their message that ‘recycling without waste pickers is garbage’. Brazil’s ambassador in Kenya, Silvio José Albuquerque e Silva, opened the doors of the Brazilian Embassy for this event and affirmed his strong support to waste pickers visibility and participation in the Treaty.

While in Kenya, the team also took the opportunity to meet with housing and development finance agency Akiba Mashinani Trust, in the Mukuru slums to discuss the challenges and possible solutions there for waste management. Mukuru is one of the largest slums in Nairobi and home to over 400,000 people.