On March 1, the First Magdalena Medio Waste Forum took place in Barrancabermeja (Colombia). The event was organised by Biota, one of Barrancabermeja’s waste companies, and Ecopetrol, the largest Colombian oil company.
Keynote speakers from the government, NGOs, and enterprises presented on a broad range of topics including the advances on the implementation of the national policy on recycling, the new technologies for waste management in Bogotá, the situation of landfills and open dumps, and the recycling of PET, among others. Felipe Vásquez, VNG International’s DEALS Expert, was invited to give a presentation on the DEALS Programme, the activities and goals in the cooperation with the municipality of Pereira, and COLABORA - Pereira’s City Lab for Inclusive Waste Management and Circular Economy.
At the national level, the Ministry of Housing estimates recycling rates around 17%. Recycling rates for PET are approaching 30% according to Ekored. Bogotá remains the most technified city on waste storage and transport with a recently installed system of side-loading containers. Furthermore, Bogotá is the first city to fully deploy a two-container system for source separation of recycling and non-recycling materials. Pereira is the only city in the country with a lab for sustainable waste management with the involvement of national and local stakeholders from the private and public spheres. Still, the city remains low at recycling (below 10%), and source separation and selective waste collection are practices yet to be implemented.