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Buenos Aires Verde: We May Be the Last City in the World...

Buenos Aires Verde: We May Be the Last City in the World to Classify Waste and Recyclables

During the year 2012 an unprecedented effort took place in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. For the first time a resource management and disposal plan, oriented towards sustainability, was created to change this South American city; the equivalent of the “Greening” process that many Latin American cities have been developing in the past two

During the year 2012 an unprecedented effort took place in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. For the first time a resource management and disposal plan, oriented towards sustainability, was created to change this South American city; the equivalent of the “Greening” process that many Latin American cities have been developing in the past two decades.
Buenos Aires Verde

As recently declared by Buenos Aires’ Minister of Environment and Public Space, the main reason for the current administration’s change of vision towards a more sustainable future were the results published by the Siemens’ Green City Index in which the Argentinean capital was poorly ranked in comparison to many neighboring cities. This ranking provided the motivation to create a comprehensive plan in order to cope with the new demands for sustainable development in the region.

What is interesting about this new proposal is not the novelty of the recycling or the classification of wastes. What is amazing about this plan is how it was implemented, from 0% waste separation and classification in 2011, to 99% application of the plan by November 2012. This includes mandatory differentiation, bio-degradable plastic bags in Supermarkets, the introduction of new and clearly indicated bins in the entire Federal District, and collaboration with the public waste collection company.

Buenos Aires Verde

However, the audacity and ambition of this plan is currently slowed by several problems.

  • Collapse of the public disposal center;
  • Lack of expansion of this plan to the greater metropolitan area of Buenos Aires.

But let’s say it’s a good start! The behavior of the citizens changed, which is especially difficult for the classic “Porteños” (Inhabitants of Buenos Aires) and, at least in the waste management sector, Buenos Aires is expected to surpass many of its Latin American neighbors.

So it is interesting to ask, will this “greening” be limited to garbage? What more can we expect from a city that, for the time being, seems serious about sustainability?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources: Ministry of Environment and Public Space- City of Buenos AiresGobernanza LocalSiemens.
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Luis Lozano-Paredes is currently a student seeking a Diploma of Architecture and Urban Planning at Belgrano University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Born in Colombia in 1987, he grew between the cities of Bogotá and Santiago de Cali, and then move...

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