Ongoing research

Exploring Policies and Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Resource Recovery and Recycling Cooperatives (2017)


This project will develop two case studies on social innovation in waste management in Argentina and Brazil. The results will contribute to the elaboration of a SSHRC partnership development grant project on ‘networking the global community-based socioeconomic initiatives in resource recovery for reuse and recycling’. Exciting innovative experiences in social and solidarity economy are surfacing worldwide.

Some cities have made significant progress implementing public policies encouraging the formation of cooperatives and social enterprises as strategy to minimize unemployment and enhance local development. Particularly in municipal waste management we see pioneering examples with cooperative organizations.

This project is unique in spearheading research into innovative legal, political, economic and financing mechanisms that strengthen social economy initiatives in waste collection and recycling. Argentina and Brazil are promising countries in these grassroots developments. Both have large populations of waste pickers and the government has designed innovative federal and municipal laws supporting ‘informal’ recycling.

What assets, policies, financing strategies are required to overcome barriers?

How can communities creatively become re-invigorated by these specific instruments?

What can these experiences teach the Canadian context, where community-oriented recycling receives growing attention in generating livelihoods and improving urban sustainability.

The research applies a mixed methods case study approach encompassing document searches, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and observations of everyday experiences in recycling cooperatives. The results will potentially benefit any city administration pushing for greater environmental stewardship in solid waste management and will help refine the methodology to upscale the networking of community based economic initiatives in reuse, and recycling on a global scale (UVic Internal Research/Creative Project Grant).

Dr. Jutta Gutberlet doing interviews with Coopernova in Cotia, Brazil. 

Dr. Jutta Gutberlet doing interviews with Coopernova in Cotia, Brazil. 

Related publication: 

Gutberlet, J.; Carenzo, S.; Kain, J-H.; & de Azevedo, A. M. M. (2017) Waste Picker Organizations and Their Contribution to the Circular Economy: Two Case Studies from a Global South Perspective. Resources 6 (52): 1-12.