Red Reciclo: collaborating to drive the circular economy and improve waste management in Colombia

Red Reciclo, Spanish for “Recycling Network”, is a collaboration between 14 companies committed to working towards sustainable waste management. Members include Tetra Pak, Postobón, Nestlé, Sistema Coca-Cola, Bavaria, and Carvajal Empaques.

Background and initiative – cooperating towards a circular economy in Colombia

The shared objective of this collaboration is to promote the implementation of plastics and packaging laws in Colombia, specifically Resolution 1407 of 2018 – the Extended Producer Responsibility of Containers and Packaging, along with Resolution 1342 of 2020, which regulates the use of plastic bags. By embracing these resolutions, Red Reciclo endeavours to lead Colombia towards a circular economy, where waste is treated as a valuable resource.

A hand holding a recycling information folder

Image: A Red Reciclo pamphlet

The management of Red Reciclo is entrusted to CEMPRE (Compromiso Empresarial por el Reciclaje or Corporate Commitment to Recycling), a vital organization of which Tetra Pak is a founding member. This initiative is pivotal in strengthening the collection chains for various materials, including cardboard, paper, carton packages, plastic, glass, and metal.

The results – enhancing collection by improving conditions for waste pickers

Red Reciclo emerged as a powerful solution, unifying the efforts of 14 forward-thinking companies in Colombia. The partnership's core objective is to promote sustainable practices and drive the principals of circular economy. By focusing on educating consumers about proper solid waste disposal and enhancing collection infrastructure, Red Reciclo seeks to create a robust ecosystem for waste management.

The plan encompasses various projects and programs that prioritise improving the conditions of waste pickers and recyclers. Red Reciclo implements sustainable logistics schemes to transport usable material to transformation or recycling centres. The initiative also invests in strengthening information systems for efficient collection chains, including traceability to ensure transparency in the recycling process.

During the pilot phase in 2020, Red Reciclo demonstrated its potential by managing 58,336 tons of post-consumer waste. The collective plan integrated numerous programs and projects, effectively building an economy centred around recycling. The initiative not only managed substantial waste but also contributed to raising awareness about sustainable waste management practices.

After the pilot phase, Red Reciclo took significant strides, developing 38 initiatives across Colombia, involving over 9,000 waste pickers and managing some 622,000 tonnes of waste.

Looking forward – continuing to expand through collective effort

These collective efforts have significantly expanded the reach of sustainable waste management practices and have positively impacted communities and the environment.

The vision is for the above successes to continue and improve where they currently operate and expand to more municipalities across Colombia. Red Reciclo plans to continue on this journey until 2030, supporting the development of the circular economy throughout the country while cooperating with actors within industry, government and education.


Companies involved
Coca-Cola, Nestle, Postobon, Cempre

Tetra Pak contacts