Brazil is not a country of recyclers. According to the Waste Atlas, an initiative developed by global consultancy firm D-Waste, the country as a whole only recycles one percent of its waste. China, on the other hand, recycles 30 percent; Germany recycles 47 percent. Brazil’s major cities are above the national average, but are still far from ideal levels. The capital city of Brasilia recycles 5.9 percent of its trash; the country’s largest city, São Paulo, recycles just 2.5 percent. In Rio de Janeiro, however, the concern with recycling is even more pressing.
The city generates approximately 3.5 million metric tons of waste each year, but only recycles 1.9 percent of it, according to the Municipal Solid Waste Knowledge Platform and the Municipal Urban Cleaning Company (COMLURB).