Gonzalo Muñoz

Ashoka Fellow
Santiago, Chile
Fellow Since 2011

Citation

This profile was prepared when Gonzalo Muñoz was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Gonzalo’s innovation focuses on changing society’s current consumption habits and the inefficiency of the waste-processing system currently in place with a three-pronged approach.

Gonzalo is making it easier for the public to start recycling by creating a series of convenient Clean Collection Points in which both businesses and ordinary people can drop off their garbage at the same time they learn about sustainable habits and check how materials are then separated into major recycling categories by the staff of TriCiclos. Gonzalo incentivizes companies to foot the bill for these Clean Collection Points by sharing a percentage of the profit that the resultant recycled materials garner as they are sold to other companies that buy such materials. Thus, the more that is recycled at each respective station, the more the contracting company receives, and Gonzalo is able to enlist these companies as partners in major education campaigns, which inform the public of the importance of recycling (bringing more recyclers to the station). The combination of this consciousness-raising and the provision of such an accessible recycling service effectively works to close the gap between merely understanding the problem and taking action.

Next, Gonzalo created TriCiclos as a social business to focus on changing the practices linked to consumption and the management of waste more generally. A strong emphasis is placed on making recycling an easy-to-adopt practice that is accessible to businesses, municipalities, educational institutions, and the general public with which it shares the benefits and challenges that it encounters while working to build a new sustainable culture.

Gonzalo is also working to replace the perverse financial incentives which actually encourage more waste and garbage by developing relationships with municipalities and other sectors of the government to push for the enactment of changes in a system that currently provides disincentives to recycle, and encourages an obsolete system of dumping waste into open landfills.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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