Albina Ruiz started worrying about health and environmental problems caused by garbage in Peru when she was an industrial engineer student. Twenty years ago, she came up with an idea for local enterprises to collect and process garbage: charging affordable fees, reducing waste volume in municipal landfills and generating more income by separating recyclables, spinning off additional microenterprises to produce compost and other marketable by-products. After 15 years of promoting her concept while working as a consultant to cities, industrial firms and various international development projects, she founded Ciudad Saludable in 2001.
IMPACT AS OF JAN. 2014:
- Pairing up with recycling companies, Ruiz Ríos and her team have developed a distance education program that specializes on the complete management of residues, with the Catholic University of Peru. There are already six versions of the program, and they have trained 300 professionals from Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.
- They have a proposal to start an operation in Egypt, the first in the Middle East.
- Establishing waste management systems that are more dependable and less expensive than those provided by municipal governments, Ciudad Saludable has organized more than 1,500 waste collectors, creating employment and improving health and living conditions for over 6 million people living in rural and poor urban regions in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and India.
- Ciudad Saludable was instrumental in the creation of the first law in Peru (as well as Latin America) to regulate the activities of waste recyclers.
- Ciudad Saludable has also established two other organizations: Peru Waste Innovation, a consulting firm specializing in solid waste management; and Healthy Cities International (New York), which is in charge of replicating Ciudad Saludable’s model around the world.
- Awards include a prize in Dubai for its practices in improving the environment, the Global Development Network Award, and the BRAVO prize as environmentalist of the year.
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