In 2015, the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation concluded a two-year collaboration project with the organisation Global Fairness Initiative, which implemented a programme in Lima, the capital of Peru, in partnership with another organisation Ciudad Saludable.
The Recyclers Leadership Initiative (RLI) benefited the micro-enterprises of Cuidad Saludable and increased the engagement of the waste-management community in a formalized plan to address and reduce waste in Lima.
Through the Initiative waste-picker’s have the ability to expand and better their practices with increased effects on the amount of waste managed in the city. By involving 18 recyclers associations RLI promoted ethical and entrepreneurial leaders within formal recycling organizations, cooperatives and micro-enterprises so they can better develop their livelihood and advocate for the enforcement of current laws that could benefit and advocate for the enforcement of current laws that could benefit over 100,000 waste pickers and recyclers. RLI improved the livelihood of Peru’s recyclers by providing trainings of waste enterprise development, grassroots worker organizing, health and safety, waste management, and public engagement to promote a culture of recycling as an enterprise in the country.
There are approximately four million people living in South America who recycle waste (they are usually referred to as “rubbish collectors”) and 86% of them live in total poverty. Although waste is an important economic sector in the market, which brings revenue from big companies, only about 10% of waste recyclers are formally registered businesses, which allows them to benefit from the existing social security system, because they are competitive in the paper, plastic or glass recycling market. In addition to the economy, waste is a major environmental and health problem, because it is often incorrectly processed with the result that chemical and biological pollution enters the environment.