Point of entry: Zero Waste Conchali

On a mission to create a more environmentally conscious and #zerowaste Chile, one school at a time, starting in Conchali.

Point of entry: Zero Waste Conchali​

This project emerged when elementary school Sol Naciente in Conchali asked for help with two invasive trash dumps that surrounded the school entrances. For over twenty years, the community of Conchali (and Chile in general) has struggled with trash pollution. Chile currently leads South American in trash generation per capita and its recycling initiatives are subpar due to lack of community engagement and education.

This socially vulnerable municipality spends more than half of its budget on trash management, they have increased landfill transport frequency and have tried to implement green points; but recycling is weak and the micro dumps continue to invade most public spaces.

Considering Conchali’s levels and causes of trash pollution, any effective solution would have to radically and permanently reduce the amount of trash generated by the community. A Zero Waste methodology offered an innovative solution to drastically reduce the amount of trash produced at the root.

To ensure sustainability in time, we targeted the Municipality’s education system. By placing elementary schools as the motors of change, we can integrate environmental awareness and zero waste concepts that will be freely transferred into homes and communities. Key for this transformation was to engage the wider community to promote awareness and ownership.

The Zero Waste Conchali plan

Curently underway, is simple

Train

the school staff on Zero Waste

Integrate

this knowledge permanently into the school curriculum while transforming the school to be Zero Waste​

Transfer

education towards community​

Scale

The successful transfer of this knowledge will continue to provide natural resource conscience, reduce waste pollution, and create environmental stewardship in the community.

As hoped, the project quickly began to reap results, as Sol Naciente learned about environmental awareness and zero waste strategies; they reduced their trash, began to compost, recycle, create a garden, “greenify the school” and extend lessons home.  

We have also seen positive social and behavioral changes in the community.

As hoped, the project quickly began to reap results, as Sol Naciente learned about environmental awareness and zero waste strategies; 

they reduced their trash, began to compost, recycle, create a garden, “greenify the school” and extend lessons home. 

Breaking a societal habit and shifting the stereotype of a marginalized, trash-riddled Conchali are tough challenges. Fortunately, this pioneer community understood that this change would require their proactivity and that it would benefit every member.

As I overlook their progress and gather feedback, I have identified gaps that hinder low-waste lifestyles and have plotted the next steps to grow and sustain this necessary movement in schools, institutions and people.

Follow Zero Waste Conchali’s progress and updates on zerowasteconchali FB

Pauchamama has collaborated with Zero Waste Conchali, The Municipality of Conchali, CORESAM, The Rotary Club, Fundacion Basura, The Chile California Council, UC Davis Chile and Regenerativa to carry out its mission.

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