Solid Waste Management, Jobs, and Education in Nicaragua

In the Global South small, isolated communities of 50,000 or less not only often lack municipally run solid waste management systems, but because their communities do not warrant the sufficient tonnage of recyclable goods to cover transportation costs, they are prohibited from establishing economically viable recycling systems.

In a remote and ethnically diverse region of Nicaragua, the Inter American Development Bank’s Multi Lateral Investment Fund (MIF) has partnered with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) and D-Lab in their effort to design a comprehensive waste management system that links three municipalities, thus generating enough plastic, aluminum, and paper to support the creation of sustainable recycling enterprises.

The four-year comprehensive program includes strategies that can achieve the near elimination of solid waste in the Corn Islands, one relatively isolated municipality with 12,000 inhabitants, and establish controlled disposal of waste in the region’s two largest municipalities, El Rama and Bluefields, each with populations just above 50,000. Ultimately, the RAAS Waste and Recycling Program not only reduces greenhouse gasemissions but also creates jobs for some of the region’s most impoverished populations.

The video below documents MIT CoLab and D-Lab Waste’s work in the region in partnership with the MIF over the last few years.

Solid Waste Management, Jobs, and Education -- MIT's Work in Nicaragua from Erik Flakoll Alegría on Vimeo.