Fortaleza has implemented an online system to devolve municipal responsibilities, enabling innovative waste management strategies to be developed that recognize the rights of informal waste-pickers.

Fortaleza has set about reshaping residents’ connection to waste. As part of the Recycling Attitudes Program, the city is engaging civil society with awareness campaigns, institutional partnerships, and active campaigns to change the way people produce and think about their waste. Teachers are trained in best recycling practices in order to educate students and arrange community litter-clearing activities. The program has already benefited more than 50% of municipal schools.

Fortaleza is also formalizing the role of waste-pickers in society by offering short-term contracts to waste-pickers at municipally organized events and activities, keeping the city clean and offering an income stream for waste collection. Both strategies have been facilitated by the Fortaleza online system – a paperless, more efficient method of developing and approving all kinds of municipal strategies. Fortaleza aims to achieve 40% recycling and 20% composting rates by 2030 with the help of the new programs.

125,000 tons of CO2 equivalent will be saved by 2030 by achieving recycling and composting goals

The challenge

Around 1% of the world’s population sustains themselves with informal waste-picking and recycling. Recognizing their rights while changing perceptions around waste is the aim of Fortaleza’s waste program.


Economic More than 200 waste-pickers directly benefited from temporary contracting at community events supported by Fortaleza.

Environmental Sports communities, such as canoeing or paddle boarding groups, engage in regular beach-cleaning campaigns involving between 50 and 300 people.

Social Recycling Attitudes has trained 1,000 teachers and 10,000 students in environmental topics and benefited 200 litter collectors.

About Fortaleza

Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. It is an important industrial and commercial center of Brazil, the eighth nation’s largest municipal purchasing power. According to the Ministry of Tourism, the city reached the marks of second most desired destination of Brazil and fourth Brazilian city that receives more tourists.

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