The law requires all companies and buildings in the municipality to declare the waste they generate and who they hire to transport, treat and dispose of it. Along with data on water, energy and floor space used in waste management as well as the number of employees and collaborators – is then analysed and made publicly available with the help of blockchain software provided for free by a local start-up.
The program – named CTR-E RGG (Electronic Generator Waste Transportation Control) – is expected to reduce the shipment of waste to landfills by 18% and save up to $30 million annually, as well as create opportunities for private waste management businesses.
And it’s working. Before the programme, only 3% of São Paulo’s waste was recycled, while just 16,000 of the city’s 300,000 companies hired a specialized manager for the transport, treatment and disposal of their waste. In the law’s first 90 days, this number jumped to 35,000 companies. Before the law, there were 80 licensed waste management and transportation companies; now, 400 unlicensed companies are seeking permits, licenses and other necessary qualifications.
With the help of technology – software, smartphone apps, QR codes on containers, dumpsters and trucks – São Paulo public authorities and businesses are able to locate, integrate and share more than 100 different waste treatment solutions. More trash is being recycled and reused. And all of this was achieved without a single fine being issued in the first three months.
The next goal is to include the municipalities around the city of São Paulo, which, together with the state capital, generate 15% of all waste generated in Brazil. In fact, if greater São Paulo were a country, it would be the 55th-most populous in the world at 21.5 million inhabitants in an area of 7,946.84 m2. This shows how such a solution – legislation, technology and enforcement – could be scaled to solve the world’s waste problem.