Now in its third edition, the Uruguay Circular 2021 Award recipients have been announced in a ceremony held on 27 October. The initiative is a collaboration between PAGE Uruguay, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM), the National Development Agency (ANDE) and the United Nations Organization for Industrial Development (UNIDO). The winners span six categories: Large companies, MSMEs, Entrepreneurs , Cooperatives and other associations, Communities , and Educational institutions.
The awards event was attended by the Vice-President of the Republic, Beatríz Argimón; the Undersecretary of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM), Walter Verri; the President of the National Development Agency (ANDE), Carmen Sánchez; and the Representative of UNIDO for Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay Manuel Albaladejo. Albaladejo opened the Ceremony and highlighted the effort of the Award in reaching all of the country and supporting large companies, cooperatives and educational institutions, while also making the initiative known internationally.
The winning initiatives by category include:
Large Companies: BADER — This initiative is aimed at reducing the consumption of natural resources for production purposes. In particular, it refers to the consumption of water from a semi-surging well used for the daily filling of cabins and extraction tanks in the leather finishing process. By reusing the final effluent, they were able to: reduce the consumption of well water and reduce the amount of effluent discharged into the canal. The result so far is a reduction of approximately 300 to 500 m3 per month. At the same time, the amount of final effluent discharged into the canal has been reduced by 40 %.
MSMEs: RCD — This company manages construction waste by generating new products from recycled concrete, reducing the volume of rubble in landfills. They revalue waste, working in line with international circular economy models and the new waste law. Its purpose is to promote recycling, foster environmental awareness and encourage good practices for quality, waste-free architecture.
Entrepreneurship: URUSU — EcotallerUrusu is a circular business model called “Neo Carpintería” (neo carpentry). It consists of a workshop with a team of working professionals that manufacture furniture for outdoor use based exclusively on recycled and national materials. In addition, the Ecotaller created a new job niche, capable of employing trained technical staff and providing quality employment. The information gathered on how to work the material is being recorded to create a course. Finally, the Ecotaller processes revalued materials and manages its own waste from the workshop responsibly, ensuring that everything is reused or transformed into new products.
Cooperatives and other associations: Cooperativa Social Unidos por la Clasificación — This cooperative operates in the city of Paysandú (Uruguay), carrying out a “clean circuits” work plan. They identify companies and institutions to develop a process of clean waste management, making the recovery of these products from the separation of recyclable material in the places of origin. The cooperative then processes this material and sells it to national companies that process it for recycling. Companies and institutions can get involved through the mobile phone application “Yo Reciclo” (I recycle).
Communities: Rosario Clasifica y Recicla — Rosario Clasifica y Recicla is a group of volunteers who promote the circular economy by donating the recyclable materials they receive from different parts of the Colonia (Uruguay) to businesses and organizations that reuse or finance themselves with them. In addition, they also disseminate information about recycling, care for the environment and organize community involvement days. They aspire to continue growing and improving to make the whole process more efficient. At the same time, they seek to spread the idea to other municipalities from Colonia and near, to join in with similar initiatives.
Educational Institutions: Liceo Verde (“Green High School”) — An initiative of students and teachers from the high school of Pan de Azúcar (Maldonado, Uruguay), this project aims to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly school and community. As part of the programme, the institution manages organic waste for vermicomposting with red Californian earthworms, using it for a vegetable garden. In addition, they have incorporated plastic waste management, as they are a collection point for eco-bricks in the department of Maldonado. They also have an alliance with the municipality of Solís to collect plastic bottles, which are then taken to be sorted.