State of Play for Circular Built Environment in Latin America and the Caribbean

Type of document: Scientific, technical, research

More than 620 million people in the LAC region need energy, water, food and housing. This bibliographic review provides a summary of the circular economy initiatives in the region.

Further information

About 1 kg of waste per day per person is produced and only 10% of that waste is recycled or recovered. Open-air dumpsites are commonly observed and generate greenhouse gases and leachates. About 80% of the population of the LAC region live in urban areas, putting pressure on the disposal of waste, including construction and demolition waste, and impacting protected areas and urban forests. The lack of product lifecycle studies prevents the municipalities from quantifying the social, economic and environmental impacts of construction and demolition waste. The LAC region is exposed to natural disasters that also generate construction and demolition waste and most countries do not have contingency plans for such disasters. Water used in construction processes is discarded directly as sewage without any treatment. Solid waste management practices are scarce and only about 20% of all municipalities have waste management plans. Informal recyclers (‘waste pickers’) often recover materials from open dumpsites. Policies on construction and demolition waste disposal and reuse vary from country to country.