• Capabilities: Solid Waste Management, Program Management

Canada and Chile design sustainable waste management program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions


metric tons per year of organic waste diverted from landfills


metric tons CO2 equivalent per year captured

CLIENT | Canadian Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

As members of the Paris Agreement, Canada and Chile have committed to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable, low-carbon future.

Arcadis, Canada and Chile have partnered to develop the Reciclo Orgánicos program, an initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Chile’s municipal waste sector.

Supporting seven communities in Chile, the Reciclo Orgánicos program will divert 6,000 metric tons of organic waste from landfills and capture 70,000 metric tons CO2 equivalent per year.

A global effort to combat climate change

According to the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, the changing climate will have widespread effects on human life and ecosystems. It brings heat waves, flooding, droughts, intense tropical cyclones and rising sea levels, while damaging biodiversity.

To combat climate change, the Canadian government has committed $2.65 billion by 2021 to help country partners around the world reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, transition to low-carbon economies and make positive contributions to a global cleantech revolution.

As part of this commitment and the 1997 Chile-Canada Agreement on Environment Cooperation, Canada is helping Chile meet its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2007 levels by 2030. Currently in Chile, 38 landfills collect over 5 million metric tons of waste and emit more than 4,000 gigagrams — or 4 million metric tons — of greenhouse gases annually.

In 2017, Arcadis partnered with the Canadian Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and the Chilean Ministry of Environment to develop Reciclo Orgánicos — a four-year program that provides funding of 7 million Canadian dollars for capacity building and technical assistance to support innovation and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Chile’s municipal waste sector. When the program concludes in 2021, the Chilean Ministry of Environment will take over Reciclo Orgánicos and potentially design a nationwide expansion utilizing the lessons learned.

Combining our proven waste management competencies in Canada and broad sector environmental and regulatory expertise in Chile, Arcadis is providing program management support and technical design expertise to plan and implement the waste management strategies.

Taking a comprehensive approach to waste management

Reciclo Orgánicos is a comprehensive approach to becoming a sustainable waste management system. It involves designing processes to support Chilean municipalities in treating organics as a resource and not as a waste stream. Beneficial organics utilization strategies include composting and anaerobic digestion. Captured landfill gas can be used as fuel for transportation and power generation. In addition, a robust and transparent mechanism is being designed for monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gases mitigated.

The program utilizes innovative approaches to financing, leveraging co-financing from public and private sector partners for a suite of planned projects while soliciting additional support from international development institutions for future expansion.

Stakeholder engagement is a key component of the program, raising awareness and encouraging citizen participation in communities, schools and institutions, while simultaneously training municipal staff through in-person sessions and online workshops.

Benefitting communities across Chile

  • Santa Juana was the first municipality to receive support from Reciclo Orgánicos. The community had no source-segregation and all municipal waste was transported and disposed of at the landfill. Santa Juana will soon commence operations at its new composting plant, which will manage organic residues from local households.
  • Talcahuano is the second municipality to receive support from Reciclo Orgánicos, which is establishing an efficient program for collecting source-separated organics from its produce markets and from other large generators. The program also provides technical support to optimize operations and increase capacity at its existing composting facility.
  • Talca is home to the second largest wholesale market for fruits and vegetables in Chile, which generates about 12 metric tons of organic residues per day. Reciclo Orgánicos is working with the Municipality of Talca to collect this material and process it into compost at a new facility using a system of aerated static piles and incorporating GORE® Cover Technology.
  • San Felipe is a city in Chile’s Valparaiso Region. Currently, all municipal waste is sent to a privately managed sanitary landfill with minimal gas collection systems in place, primarily used for passive venting of landfill gases. Reciclo Orgánicos is working with the landfill operator in collaboration with the Municipality of San Felipe to develop a 2-megawatt landfill gas power plant. This project will capture gas from the current landfill as well as the recently closed dumpsite located within the same complex.

Expanding anaerobic digestion, composting and landfill gas capture capacities

  • Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, is one of the most remote, yet inhabited, islands in the world. Reciclo Orgánicos is assessing the technical aspects of a small-scale composting facility using aerated static piles and efficient ways to segregate organics at source.
  • Rancagua is the largest city in the Region of O’Higgins. Reciclo Orgánicos is currently assessing projects for converting landfill gas to energy and managing agro-industrial organic waste in an anaerobic digester for clean energy production.
  • Viña del Mar currently disposes all its municipal waste in a landfill. Reciclo Orgánicos is evaluating the design of a source-separation system to collect clean organics from households and the hospitality sector, then process them in an anaerobic digester, possibly located at Viña del Mar’s old landfill. The program will also determine if landfill gas at the existing site could be captured and beneficially utilized in tandem with the anaerobic digestion facility.

By aligning Canada’s and Chile’s vision of a sustainable, low-carbon future with our environmental expertise, Reciclo Orgánicos continues to deliver on Arcadis’ commitment to improving quality of life in rapidly growing regions around the world.

Visit the Reciclo Orgánicos website for more information.



metric tons per year of organic waste diverted from landfills


metric tons CO2 equivalent per year captured


Chile communities supported
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