This article was originally written and published by VEGA Member PUM Netherlands senior experts here.
‘As long as there are no penalties, why should we recycle? This is how entrepreneurs in Peru think about recycling.’ The quote is from Alonso Saavedra, CEO of Green Recycling Peru SAC. His company recycles electronic waste and has already reached the break-even point within one year.
PUM expert Pieter van Hagen visited the company and gave advice regarding waste management. The working conditions were also assessed, and now instead of neon light, there is for example, energy-saving LED light. Pieter van Hagen: “Because the government of Peru promotes recycling, the company has become viable, but this entrepreneur is truly a pioneer and an example for the whole country, and beyond. Therefore it is important that we can help him with expertise in recycling, the Netherlands is really ahead in that area. ”
Business link visit
After the mission of the PUM expert, Alonso Saavedra visited the Netherlands for a Business link programme. Pieter van Hagen organised the programme; not only commercial companies were visited in the field of waste management and recycling, also policymakers and a non-profit organisation (Wecycle.nl). Alonso has many contacts with the government and they also could learn from the Dutch practice. Recycling of metal and plastics has been done for some time in Peru, but the recycling of electronics components is new.
Alonso really believes in his project. Both sustainability and the ability to operate profitably are thereby motivating factors for him. An important difference between recycling in the Netherlands and Peru, is that labour costs in Peru are much lower. Thus, employing employees is more attractive than investing in machinery. The more detailed the sorting out of electronic parts is done, the more profitable recycling becomes. Peru SAC Green Recycling not only plays a role as a pioneer in sustainable ‘green’ enterprising, the company creates jobs and thus also plays an important social role.