COVID-19, waste production and municipal recycling programs: Insights from Chile to the global south

Title

COVID-19, waste production and municipal recycling programs: Insights from Chile to the global south

AuthorValeria Muñoz, Sebastián Dávila, Andrea Espinoza, Luis Rojo, Nicolás Valenzuela, Óscar Vásquez.
Line(s)Dinámicas Socioespaciales
Year of Publication2023
Journal TitleScience of The Total Environment
Keywords
Drop off points; Recycling; Waste separation; Global south; Walking distance.
AbstractThe amount and characterization of municipal and industrial waste generated in numerous cities worldwide have changed dramatically in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, assessing the impact of COVID-19-related policies is important to provide decision-makers with adequate knowledge to respond effectively to future events and create successful policies that respond to specific contexts. This study focuses on Chile, Latin America’s second-largest municipal and industrial solid waste producer, with tight quarantine procedures placed to prevent the virus from spreading, and a series of monetary incentives implemented to minimize the economic and social impact of the quarantines. The time series of municipal solid waste (MSW) and recycling in the metropolitan region show a decrease in the amount collected during the initial months of lockdown and a subsequent increase during monetary incentive implementation. The country recovered and exceeded pre-pandemic MSW generation and recycling levels. Furthermore, the lockdown and the withdrawal of retirement funds (WRF) had a varied impact on each municipality in the region. However, WRF had a larger direct impact than a lockdown, indicating that purchasing power has a greater impact than mobility in waste generation and recycling, at least in this region of Chile.
Doihttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.165388
Corresponding AuthorNicolás Valenzuela, ndvalenz@uc.cl