Circular economy opportunities in Chile
Chile shows interesting characteristics for doing business with in the field of circular economy. With the highest score in the Latin American region on the Global Innovation Index and ambitious goals in the field of circular economy and waste management, Chilean-Dutch collaboration is not unlikely.
Thinking about doing business in Chile? Below you will find information on policy landscape, circular economy strategy and selected priority areas!
Facts & Figures
- Population (2019): 18,9 mln
- Nominal GDP (2019): $240.192 bn, world rank: 41th
- GDP per capita (2019): $25.155
- Import from NL (2018): €706 mln
- Economic growth (2018): 4%
- Ease of doing business rank (2020): 59/190
- Corruption index (2019): 27/198
- Unemployment rate (2019): 7%
- Currency: Chilean peso
- Time difference NL: -4/-5/-6 hrs
Circular economy indicators
- Global innovation index (2020): 54/131 (highest score in the Latin American region)
- Municipal waste recycling rate: 2%
- Organic waste reuse: 1%
Estimation by the Ministry of the Environment:
- National waste (2017) 23 million/tons
- Plastic packaging recovery: 12%
- Tire recovery: 5%
Graph: Waste generation in Chile 2016-2017
Source: Quinto Reporte del Estado del Medio Ambiente (2019)
Chili has ambitious circular goals, which are represented in legislation, roadmaps and strategies. Early 2020, the government committed to cut greenhouse gas with up to 45% by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050 in the updated National Determined Contribution.
In 2019, the Ministry of the Environment launched ‘Circular Chile‘ the first programme for the circular economy in Latin America. The goals of this roadmap are structured around four themes: obtaining raw materials, production, consumption and services, and waste management. The main objective for 2040 is to have less than 10% of household waste going to landfill (currently 96%). Of organic waste only 1% is currently being reused. Chile’s ambition is to go from 1% recovery to 66% by the year 2040 by aiming for citizens to generate less organic waste, achieve a greater separation at the source, and by providing infrastructure, equipment and logistics systems.
Striving to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastics the campaign ‘Circula el Plástico’ was launched in 2019. The main goals are making 100% of plastic packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and ensure that 30% of all plastic packaging is reused, recycled or composted. Moreover, Chile is the first country of the region to implement a communication strategy on plastics, such as #ChaoBolsasPlásticas.
Circular Economy in Agriculture
The Ministry of Agriculture recently published the ‘CE Program for the Agrofood Sector‘. This strategy focuses on the five sub-sectors wine, livestock, fruit, vegetables and cereals, and is mainly aimed at actions in the production and processing stages of the value chain.
Extended Producer Responsibility (ERP)
Chile is one of the first countries in Latin America to adopt Extended Producer Responsibility, which was presented to the Chilean Chamber of Deputies in 2013. In 2015, Chile adopted this policy in order to manage waste and reduce its generation by focusing on six key products: lubricating oils, electric/electronic devices, batteries, packaging, tires, and newspapers and magazines.
In 2019, the government convened the National Water Board – Mesa Nacional del Agua to establish the central contents of a long-term water policy, to propose the necessary water infrastructure and water management in the medium and long term and to define the basic principles of the legal and institutional framework.
We see three priority areas when it comes to circular economy opportunities for collaboration: Agriculture, Packaging and WaterDutch Embassy in Chile
Agriculture & Food
Agro-Food is an essential export product for Chile as it counts for 16,5% of its total export. With also the highest score in the region in the Global Food Security Index 2019, ambitious goals in the field of agro waste management and a national circular economy programme for agriculture, Chile shows to be a relevant potential business partner for Dutch circular entrepreneurs with agro-food solutions. Dutch technology can, for instance, support in the valorisation of organic waste streams, especially from industry. Examples are digestion as a source of renewable energy and fertilizer or high-end valorisation of organic waste into biobased materials. Opportunities lie in the recovery of, for instance, fruit losses into new packaging, and fish waste by using new processing techniques.
Other Dutch innovation examples fitting challenges that the Chilean cope with are focused on new varieties and rootstock adapted to changing climatic conditions or intelligence and predictive models to guide future decision making.
Water availability is a big issue in Chile. Especially in the north and central part of the country water scarcity and droughts affect cities, agriculture and mining activities. The production and transport of desalinated water is expensive and competing interests for water, combined with legislative inconsistencies and lack of systematic water rights registration, leads to a strong need for experienced partners with innovative watermanagement solutions.
As the Dutch have years of experience in efficient water use in agriculture, water treatment and water reuse, companies and consultancy firms active in the integral supply chain of water production, treatment and transport can find impactful business opportunities in Chile. Providing (recovered) water in the right quantity and quality, at the right moment for the right application (drinking water, mining or agriculture) is a key opportunity.
Plastics and sustainable packaging
Currently only 11,8% of plastic packaging waste from both domestic (4,5%) and industrial origin (17,6%) are valorized. With the emergence of the new EPR law and the Chilean Plastic Pact, Chile shows serious interest and momentum for opportunities in separation, collection, recycling, and alternative packaging technologies.
Logistics, access to input material and demand for recycled materials are challenges withholding Chile from reaching its ambitious plastic goals and Dutch knowledge and experience might be just the right solution at the right timing. Also the Dutch plastics value- chain approach with actions from both public and private players can be inspirational for Chile and can open various markets.
Major upcoming events
- Advanced Mining Technology Center (AMTC). 03 – 06 October 2021
See also related items below.
Think tanks/research institutes
- Association of Msur Municipalities
- Eurochile Fundación empresarial
- FCH-Fundacion Chile
- CORFO- Circular Economy Innovation Prototypes Program
- Chilean Institute of Clean Technologies (RFP)
- 3ie– International Institute for Business Innovation
- ADC Circular– Association of Sustainable Consumers of Chile
- Chilean Plastic Pact Roadmap
- Renewable Energies in Chile
- Chilean Energy Roadmap 2050
- Economía circular in Latín América
- Estado del medio ambientes: Agua
- Estrategia Nacional de Residuos Orgánicos
- Mesa Nacional Del Agua
- Informe final waste to energy
- Economía Circular: Sector Agroalimentario
- Hoja de Ruta RCD
- Plan estratégico sector sanitario
- Hoja de Ruta de Economía Circular en Chile
More information, news and events related to Chile!
Chile, the Netherlands and circular economy: making the shift together
Dutch-Chilean efforts for a circular economy
NL-LATAM Mission on Circular Economy and Waste Management
Opportunities for Dutch-LATAM collaboration in the waste management sector
Webinar Waste Management in Latin America
Online | 11th of February 2021
Presenting the results of a sector study for 8 countries in Latin America
Circular business opportunities in Chile? Re-watch the webinar series!
Virtual trade mission Chile
Opportunities for plastics and sustainable packaging in Chile
Join the webinar and matchmaking!
Circular Economy Conference & Brokerage
online | 11th of December 2020
Give visibility to circular economy as a tool to mitigate climate change.
Circular Business Opportunities in Chile: Plastics & Sustainable Packaging
online | 16th of December 2020
Virtual Circular Economy Mission to Chile
Circular Business Opportunities in Chile: Water Management
online | 10th of December 2020
Virtual Circular Economy Mission to Chile
Circular Business Opportunities in the Chilean Agro-Food Sector
online | 9th of December 2020
Virtual Circular Economy Mission to Chile
Circular Economy Mission Chile
online | 9th until 16th of December 2020
Business opportunities in Agro-Food, Water Management and Plastics!