Revista Granito de Arena

Circular economy: a movement gaining momentum in Guatemala and around the world

Circular economy is a production and consumption model that involves sharing, reusing, renewing, and recycling existing materials as often as possible to create added value.

Ana Patricia Fuentes, Proverde’s commercial manager, participated in the «Circular economy of plastic and water» forum in the Netherlands, which took place with CentraRSE Guatemala’s support.

Currently, plastic’s final destination worldwide alarming, as 40 percent of it ends up in landfills, 25 percent is incinerated, 19 percent is transferred to leaks or waste to unmanaged landfills, 16 percent is collected for recycling (of that 16 percent, 4 percent is lost in the process).  

One of the strategies currently employed is to establish a circular vision. This is when leadership generates cultural changes and governance, to promote circular attitude, objectives, goals, and combined metrics.

In her speech, Ana Patricia Fuentes stated that circular economy is gaining momentum around the world, and Guatemala is no exception.  

 «The interesting thing about this concept is that it ties environmentally favorable and sustainable activities with economic competitiveness. Initiatives that represent savings, avoid wasting resources, and promote business sustainability over time will be successful. I think the key word here is competitiveness, and Guatemalans are a very competitive society,» she said.

A 20+ plus year commitment

Cementos Progreso has been navigating Circular Economy for more than 20 years, and as a Co-Processing Unit for 14 years (now incorporated as Proverde). Proverde takes advantage of the non-recyclable energetic and mineral content in waste, to give materials a last go-around, not allowing ashes to go into landfills. 

The 10 R’s 

Within the future and circular vision of plastics, there are levels of circularity where the 10 “R’s” are taken into account: reject, reduce, redesign, reuse, repair, restore, remanufacture, reutilize, recycle, and recover.  

In addition, the forum raised several specific actions that companies do which will contribute to circular economy, such as:  

  • Efficient business models: Move beyond waste and recycling to leverage the full group of circular business models. Use disruptive technology to receive additional benefit from its circular transformation.

  • Working in teams: achieving circular transformation requires teamwork across functional areas (e.g., R&D, sourcing, supply chain, manufacturing and marketing).

  • In addition, the panelists pointed out the importance of environmental education which needed to include proper solidwaste management (especially plastics) and water re-use systems.  


Proverde has managed 17,000 tons of waste per year, with the support of more members of the waste value chain, this could reach more than 80,000 in a few years. 

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