McKinsey.org, a nonprofit founded by global consultancy McKinsey & Company, and Amcor have teamed together to develop recycling and waste management solutions for communities in Latin America.
Launched in 2018 to explore the critical global issues facing cities around the world, the first initiative developed by McKinsey.org in 2019 was its Rethinking Recycling programme in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The initiative aimed to work in partnership with local governments, NGOs, and businesses to increase household recycling rates and to improve the effectiveness of local sorting and processing systems. The effort has been a success - more than 5,000 households have become involved, over 120 workers have been trained and participating communities are recycling up to a third of their waste. Before the initiative, there was no formal recycling system and only a minority of the population regularly sorted their waste.
The project struck a chord with packaging giant Amcor. In 2018, Amcor pledged to develop all its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025. The company also committed to increasing its use of recycled materials and collaborating with partners globally to promote better waste management and recycling infrastructure. To that end, Amcor has worked for example, with the Recycling Partnership to increase residential recycling in the USA, funnelling hundreds of thousands of dollars into the initiative in order to boost recycling rates and the availability of recycled material for packaging.
The ‘Rethinking Recycling’ initiative is another project that is well-aligned with Amcor’s 2025 Sustainability Pledge. In Argentina, Rethinking Recycling started with a successful pilot project in Buenos Aires’ Barrio 31. It has now been scaled up in Olavarría, a larger city in Buenos Aires province.The three-year project aims to fully roll-out a recycling program across the entire city. Beginning this year, it will launch a series of pilots to test and improve recycling in the community, before expanding in 2022 and 2023.
“Amcor has believed in and supported our vision for a world free of waste from the very beginning of the Rethinking Recycling program,” said Larissa Sakamoto, program manager at McKinsey.org.
Amcor is not only leveraging its customer network to expand support for the initiative from leading consumer packaged goods companies, but it is also contributing by organising workshops with supply chain partners and helping McKinsey.org to develop a city selection process for the Rethinking Recycling program.
“Developing recycling infrastructure is critical in building a circular system that works and McKinsey.org’s initiative will complement our existing efforts to collaborate to keep waste out of the environment,” said David Clark, Amcor’s Vice President for Sustainability.