According to a study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Brazil is the fourth largest producer of plastic waste, generating 11.3 million tons per year, of which only 1.28% is recycled. Brazil's percentage of recycled plastic is significantly lower than the global average of 9%. Why? Because the vast majority of Brazilians still do not understand how recycling works. A survey (Ibope, 2018) found that 66% of the population knows nothing or very little about selective waste management, and 39% of Brazilians do not separate garbage.
An effective selective waste management program requires educating the population on where to dispose of waste so that it is separated at the beginning of the process—before it reaches a recycling facility. Waste in Brazil is classified primarily as recyclable or non-recyclable. As a result, sorting recyclable waste into colored bins (plastic, paper, metal, and glass) is unnecessary because all such refuse is mixed in the garbage truck. Furthermore, some recyclable materials, such as styrofoam, are frequently discarded as non-recyclable because they do not "belong" in conventional colored bins.
In order to facilitate the management and disposal of different waste materials on campus while simultaneously teaching the Graded community about selective waste management, we have replaced our colored bins with general recycling bins. Classrooms and offices have also been equipped with recycling bins.
Understanding Bin Signage for Selective Waste Management
Recyclable: cardboard, carton packs, glass, metals, paper, plastic, and styrofoam.
Non-Recyclable/Regular Trash: adhesive materials, cloth materials, food-soiled papers and boxes, and paper with glue or paint.
Compostable: all types of organic waste, including food scraps, paper towels, napkins, tea bags, and coffee grounds.
Furthermore, Graded has launched a composting pilot project. On average, 50% of the waste we produce is organic and compostable. We have placed several composting bins around campus. Part of the organic waste produced at the school will be converted into fertilizer in recently-installed composting boxes located near the Graded Learning Lab. All the fertilizer generated will be used in our vegetable garden and on the Graded Greens.
Additional information about the composting process at Graded may be found near the composting boxes. Visit to learn more! After piloting the project, we intend to expand the scope of the composting initiative. We are committed to making our school as environmentally friendly as possible, and these recent initiatives, supported by the Graded Annual Fund, bring us one step closer to our goal.