Recovery of and Treatment of Municipal Solid Waste for the Province of Cartago, Costa Rica


Amount Raised


Total Investors

Project Overview

1. Separation plant for solid waste: mixed waste entering is separated by automated and manual processes, with the aim of separating the recyclable, organic and non-recoverable fractions.
2. Anaerobic digestion plant
3. Plant for CDR (waste fuel),
4. Separation of recoverable waste: the recoverable waste obtained will be suitable for transfer to the country’s recycling industries.
The project aims to increase the recovery of recyclable waste including organic waste (up 50%) by the construction and operation of a treatment plant. The project include all the territories of Cartago province in Costa Rica.


  • Energy
  • Waste Management
Funding Goal
Costa Rica
Latin America and the Caribbean


Main objective: Increase the recovery of recoverable waste for the province of Cartago, through the construction and operation of a solid waste recovery and treatment plant that allows its integral management.

Secondary objectives:
(1) Recovery of recyclable waste.
(2) Use of the organic solid waste fraction.
(3) Reduction of shipments of waste directed to final disposal towards landfills.
(4) Strengthening the performance of Municipalities on waste management.
(5) Provide alternative for the delivery-reception of waste.

Progress Tracker



Current Stage

Advanced Design: Clear funding requirements, operational feasibility. Financial model exists.

The project currently has a prefeasibility study and a feasibility study, which includes the technical, financial, organizational, environmental, market, social, legal and risk aspects.

They are in execution: (1) Study of the efficiency and quality analysis required in the operation of the plant. (2) Engineering studies, including plans, specifications and final design (3) Analysis of the required financial model (income, expenses and capital flows, rates of return). (4) Analysis of risks and contingencies required before and during project execution

So far no infrastructure has been built.



Project Milestones


ESG Impact

The project is aligned with the country’s vision and the different goals set for the coming years in the following strategies. There is an articulation with the objectives of the National Development Plan, National Territorial Rural Development Plan and other national policies and plans such as National-Decarbonization Plan.

The project has a regional coverage, by impacting the populations of all the province of Cartago, improving not only the quality of the solid waste collection and management service for the population but also reducing the environmental impact of this activity.

Promotes innovation and added value: It consists of the first experience in the country where both inorganic and organic waste will be treated, generating the possibility of adding value to waste through the manufacture of compost and the opportunity to promote enterprises in this line.

Efficient and sustainable use of natural resources and the environment: Avoid the disposal of 50% of the waste generated in the region to the landfill.

National Policy for Integral Waste Management (2010-2012), through the promotion of public-private partnerships for the development of Integrated Waste Management

National Strategy for Separation, Recovery and Valorization of Solid Waste, which identifies having a municipal structure that allows Integrated Waste Management.

Expected and Determined Contribution at National Level (NAMA Waste Costa Rica), through the mitigation of Climate Change National Health Plan, which raises the reduction of waste that is disposed in landfills and landfills.

National Development Plan (2019-2022) which raises the contribution to Carbon Neutrality a through the participation of local governments.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the fulfillment of the Objective 12: “By 2030, significantly reduce the generation of waste through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse activities”. National-Decarbonization Plan, in which, wants to develop an integrated waste management system based on separation, reuse, revaluation, and final disposal of maximum efficiency and low greenhouse gas emissions.


The project will generate 63 direct jobs, will benefit 452,167 inhabitants in 2020 to 529,866 inhabitants in 2040, through the 6 Municipalities of the Province of Cartago that will be recovering recyclables, taking advantage of the organic fraction and reducing the final disposal in landfills health, strengthening the performance of Municipalities on waste management. It will also benefit marketers and processors of recyclable by-products and materials.

SDG Goals

SDG 1: No PovertySDG 2: Zero HungerSDG 3: Good Health and Well-beingSDG 4: Quality EducationSDG 5: Gender EqualitySDG 6: Clean Water and SanitationSDG 7: Affordable and Clean EnergySDG 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthSDG 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureSDG 10: Reduced InequalitySDG 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesSDG 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionSDG 13: Climate ActionSDG 14: Life Below WaterSDG 15: Life on LandSDG 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsSDG 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goals


The project is directly related to the fulfillment of the following Sustainable Development Goals:

Objective 11: Achieve cities and human settlements be inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable: reduce the negative environmental impact per capita of cities, including paying special attention to the management of municipal and other wastes.

Objective 12: By 2030, significantly reduce the generation of waste through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse activities.

In Costa Rica, most of the solid waste is disposed in sanitary landfills, as there is no proper management of organic waste, during its decomposition a large amount of greenhouse gases are produced that contribute to global warming, coupled with the absence of recovery of recyclable waste that can enter a value chain.

This project aims to contribute significantly to the solution of poor waste management that increases the effects of climate change, contributing to national efforts towards Carbon Neutrality, through the installation and operation of an ordinary solid waste recovery and treatment plant. for the province of Carthage.

The execution of this project means for the country, not only the first experience of the creation of a municipal community, but also the first integral effort for waste management, where the waste deposited in the landfill would be reduced by 50%.

Through the project, the entire population of the province of Cartago can be benefited, consisting of 452,167 inhabitants by 2020 and 529,866 by 2040, according to population growth projections.

Risks and Limitations

What are the key risks, constraints and dependencies related to the project?

According to the feasibility study there are latent risks in any of the stages of the project, so mitigation measures will be applied for all identified impacts.

The following are identified as high-risk and critical:
(1) Financing risk (budget insufficiency),
(2) Income risk (overestimation of income and benefits of the project),
(3) Political risk / impact risk (conflict of interest) ) Due to political decisions, the development of the project is put at risk.
(4) Inflation risk (increase in project costs)

Risk mitigation and continuity

The project is not subject only to the central government of Costa Rica, but also has other actors, which are the cantonal mayors of the province of Cartago. For this, a consolidation letter of a company has already been signed, which would be responsible for operating the project once it is in operation, in this way direct interference by any particular political interest is not allowed. Under the figure of a public company, the continuity of the project can be consolidated in a better way. It is also important to mention that the participating municipalities have the same problem related to the integral management of waste, so sharing a problem and a single solution can also guarantee the success of the project.


Type of Investment


Financing Structure

Public Private Partnership

Secured Investment

Financial support received: (1) Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through the financing of the Project Diagnostic and Feasibility Study (US $ 17,550) and coordination workshops (US $ 20,000) (2) Foundation of Sustainability and Equity (Alliarse) through the Feasibility Study (US $ 20,000) and Environmental Impact Assessment ($ 12,500). (3) The National Union of Local Governments (UNGL), as the project executing unit (US $ 15,000). Other studies in progress: (1) Study of the efficiency and quality analysis required in the operation of the plant. Estimated cost: US $ 35,000 (2) Engineering studies, including plans, specifications and final design before the project execution stage. Estimated cost: US 160,000 (3) Analysis of the required financial model (income, expenses and capital flows, rates of return). Estimated cost: US $ 55,000 (4) Analysis of risks and contingencies required before and during project execution. Estimated cost: US $ 32,000 5) Preparation of tender specifications for construction and operation (includes all legal, technical, minimum service levels, business model, party responsibilities, procedures, operating licenses, etc.). Estimated cost: US $ 220,000 (6) The total cost of these preinvestment studies is covered by the Institute for Rural Development (INDER). Total amount: US $ 527,000. (7) The Environmental Impact Studies (EIA) will be covered by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), as well as the analysis of the organizational structure of the project and the administrative mechanism of operation.

Committed Government Funding


National and Subnational Investors

The money will be provided by the Rural Development Institute (INDER) for an approximate amount of $ 559440 for pre-investment study. INDER corresponds to a public institution of the central government.

Committed Private Funding

1) Sustainability and Equity Foundation (Alliarse) $ US 12,000 / (2) Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) US $ 45,000


Technical Support Required



Governmental Buy-in


Other Forms of Governmental Support

The project is part of a Special Commission led by the President of the Republic. The project model that has been developed, is desired to be replicated in other regions of Costa Rica, so it is known to be one of the government's priorities.

National Ministries Involved

Comisión Especial Presidencial / Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía (MINAE) / Instituto de Desarrollo Rural (INDER) / Ministerio de Salud (MinSalud)

SubNational Ministries Involved

Unión Nacional de Gobiernos Locales (UNGL)

Other Entities Involved

Fundación de Sostenibilidad y Equidad (Alliarse)

Licenses and Permits



Supporting Documents

No supporting documents included.



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