|For Colombia, MSW is an important waste stream that needs capacity building in different areas. There has been an integrated solid waste policy since 1998, which needs to be further elaborated and specified in the field of waste prevention, reuse, recycling, and recovery. In particular, regulations need to be developed for separation at source, selective collection, transfer stations, and material recovery facilities (MRF). There is a need to develop policies and regulations that involve the private sector in the financing of the integrated waste management, taking into account the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) principle. It is also necessary to conduct feasibility studies on alternative practices and technologies that are commercially available and applicable in the country.
In the area of technical capacity, the main hindrance to effective recycling is a lack of technologies for recycling and recovery of waste, which has led to a weak market for recycled materials. Thus, there is a clear need to develop technical guidelines to include recycled raw materials and by-products in the market and ensure their quality and to strengthen technical capacity to valorize waste, for example through energy recovery from MSW and use of organic waste. Technical capacity building is particularly needed for small, rural and isolated municipalities. In addition, technical capacity building is also needed to broaden the technical knowledge on sanitary landfills to expand their life spans, diminish ecological risks and generate usable by-products.
With regard to plastic waste in particular, technical capacity to test plastics in laboratories is needed to avoid consumer fraud relating to biodegradable plastics.
On the financial side, there is a lack of instruments to fund public services in waste management. User charges do not exist and since the market for recycled materials is not yet well established, the demand for recycled materials is still pretty weak and can thus not sustain waste management activities. Unstable funding is particularly problematic for small, rural, and isolated municipalities.
Considering the social dimension of MSW management, there is a need to identify mechanisms to formalize the activities of informal waste recyclers and to create opportunities for internally displaced people. Support is also needed to develop strategies that actively involve consumers in the recovery of materials. Awareness-raising campaigns in communities also need to ensure that the public understands the waste management chain and the benefits of different measures in waste management.
From an institutional point of view, capacity building is also needed to strengthen institutions to unify technical criteria and regulations on waste management to create an integrated approach.