An overview of plastic recycling in Rio de Janeiro

Elen B A V Pacheco, Luiza M. Ronchetti, Eric Masanet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The recycling of plastic is carried out under serious constraints in Brazil, the main ones being the lack of both fiscal incentives and selective garbage separation (curbside collection). These difficulties were investigated in the Metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro, where the large Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro is located. The ways of disposition and recycling pointed out at Rio de Janeiro can be used as a base of information for other Brazilian cities. The objective is to show how the plastic recycling is been carried out to indicate its own difficulty. Besides this studied subject, it was evaluated the current capacity for the recycling of post-consumed plastic. The study was based on field research with visits to plastic recyclers, dealers, recycling cooperatives sorting plants, selective garbage programs and urban waste dumps. The plastic recycling capacity of the recycling companies located in the Metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro, which were studied, corresponded to 8% in 2003 and 16% in 2007 of all the plastic deposited in the main dump of Rio de Janeiro City. Most materials which are recycled come from dumps or controlled dumps, where garbage pickers collect them and send them, mainly, to dealers. The dealers then take the postconsumer plastic to recycling industry, where this material is usually transformed into artifacts with low aggregated value. Poly(ethylene terephthalate) and polyolefins are the plastics most recycled in Rio de Janeiro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-146
Number of pages7
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Brazil
  • Dumps
  • Plastic
  • Recycling
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Waste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics

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