[45] Montevideo – Circular Economy

When Argentina is kicked out of the World Championship Footbal, and Uruguay wins their game, I cross the border, from country to country, from public sadness to joy.

Besides the football story, Uruguay has some other interesting facts when it comes to sustainability. Uruguay is constructing charging points for electric vehicles along its coastal road, to decontaminate transport throughout the country, for instance;

But the story I want to share today is the one on the idea of circular economy which is rising in the country. Several companies apparently where already trying to reduce their waste and/or energy by recycling, re-using, or even letting others use their ‘waste products’ or waste energy.

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Moreover, in 2017 Montevideo organised the first Circular Economy Forum in Latin America, with even participants of Finland. Since circular economy tries to optimise the use of energy and means, and to reduce the production of waste (which can be both, wasted energy, and wasted materials), it took three ministries to come together and create a circular economy program. This kind of cooperation is admirable and looks unique to me.

There is the project ‘Biovalor’ in which agricultural companies are assisted to convert their biological waste into energy. Since the machinery is too expensive for them and the business is too risky to get loans, Biovalor lends them money, which results in benefits in terms of planet, people and profit.

Further on, the ‘Oportunidades Circulares’ program, is not only a contest for projects in terms of circular economy in various industries, from agriculture to construction, but it offers support and guidance, and raises the debate in general as well.

Therefore, they organise panels among other strategies, in which various stakeholders of a certain sector come together and discuss the problems they are facing, but as well the solutions some of them already have put in place. As a result, they demonstrate that making their sector work according to the principles of circular economy is not impossible. It is about inspiring them and giving them incentives to get involved in the circular economy as well. ‘Binding them the carrot.’ ‘Circular economy goes further than only increasing the value of waste,’ says the lady of Biovalor, ‘It is as well about using the materials in the most efficient way you can.’

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On the first of January 2019 will be decided which ideas gain financial support to be executed and enhance Uruguay’s circular economy. To be continued.

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