In the context of continuous economic growth over the last decade, progressive poverty reduction and increasing mass consumption, the amount of waste in Colombia has grown steadily. Accordingly, the government has developed a series of strategies focused on environmentally sound management of solid waste, promoting its reuse and recycling.
Taking into account the orientation of the current development plan (2018 - 2020) towards ecological economic growth, the transition from a policy focused mainly on solid waste management towards a circular economy has begun. Specifically, an increase in the recycling rate was included in the planning of the national sustainability programme for the SDG 12 (increase from 8.6% in 2018, to 17.9% in 2030).
Considering that the approximately 47,000 recyclable material collectors in the Colombian territory carry out, to a large extent, the collection and segregation of potentially recyclable waste, the national Government has issued a series of regulations as part of a formalisation strategy for recyclers in different aspects, especially towards the generation of formal and regular employment (PE: Decree 596 of 2016). However, due to the lack of incentives provided by the tariff system, unresolved questions regarding integration into the social security system and an insufficiently designed accompanying process, formalisation is developing very slowly.
In addition, a regulation on extended producer responsibility for packaging waste came into force in 2018 and will now be applied progressively by meeting minimum annual collection and management goals.