Last update:

Wastepickers mobilization against the carbonization of solid waste, Rondônia, Brazil

While promoted as a modern, ecofriendly solution to Brazil’s waste management problems, incinerator projects such as the one currently developed in Cacoal face broad civil society opposition, particularly from wastepicker groups and recycling initiatives.


A small incinerator for urban solid waste is currently being installed by the company Usitrar Eco-Energy in the town of Riozinho, in proximity to the city of Cacoal in the Brazilian State of Rondônia. [1][2][3]

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Wastepickers mobilization against the carbonization of solid waste, Rondônia, Brazil
State or province:Rondônia
Location of conflict:Riozinho, Cacoal
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Recycled Metals
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Investment sum in the plant and carbonization technology was R$ 10 million. [6] It was expected to create 30 jobs, a tax revenue of R$ 1.5 million for the municipality, and new economic opportunities through the commercialization of generated coal. [4] However, as outlined above, wastepicker movements see 6,000 jobs endangered, of both informal recyclers and people emplyed in one of Rondônia’s 22 wastepicker cooperatives. [1] One cooperative alone reports to employ recycle material between 80 and 100 tons per month, particularly plastic and paper. [9]

Level of Investment for the conflictive project2,500,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:6,000
Start of the conflict:2018
Company names or state enterprises:Industria de Tratamento e Transformacao de Residuos Ltda (Usitrar Eco-Energy) from Brazil - Operator of carbonization plant
Relevant government actors:Secretaria de Estado do Desenvolvimento Ambiental (Sedam)
Public Ministry of Rondônia (MP)
Municipality of Cacoal
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-National Movement of Waste Pickers of Recyclable Materials in Brazil (MNCR)
-Coalizão Nacional contra a Incineração de Lixo
- Cooperativa de Catadores de Recicláveis (Coopercatar)
- Cooperativa Rondoniense de Catadores e Catadoras de Materiais Recicláveis (Catanorte)
- Zero Waste Alliance of Brazil
- Observatory for Inclusive and Solidarity Recycling of Brazil
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Informal workers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Wastepickers, recyclers
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsRespiratory and potentially carcinogenic impacts of emitted toxins
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsParticular impacts on informal recyclers with lower employability
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
New legislation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Lei 12.305/10
[click to view]

[4] Portal Madeirão (2018): Decisão judicial remove entrave e Cacoal será pioneiro no país em gerar energia com lixo. 19.07.2018. (Online, last accessed 30.11.2019)
[click to view]

[5] Jornal 100 Limite (2018): População do distrito do Riozinho pedem socorro contra o Câncer “Usina de Incinerador de Lixo”. 19.08.2018. (Online, last accessed 30.11.2019)
[click to view]

[6] Santos, J. (2018): Autoridades visitam usina de carbonização de lixo em Cacoal e conferem tecnologia ecológica. Jornal Correio de Rondônia, 27.06.2018. (Online, last accessed 30.11.2019)
[click to view]

[7] Rolnews (2018): Prefeita de Cacoal suspende licença para queima de lixo. 22.06.2018. (Online, last accessed 30.11.2019)
[click to view]

[8] Prefeitura de Cacoal (2018): Cancelamento de certificado acaba com incertezas sobre usina no Riozinho. 21.06.2018. (Online, last accessed 30.11.2019)
[click to view]

[10] Tribuna Popular (2018): Catadores protestam contra usina de queima de lixo, em Riozinho. 16.08.2018. (Online, last accessed 30.11.2019)
[click to view]

[14] MFM Soluções Ambientais (2018): Manifesto: Coalizão declara ‘Guerra’ contra a carbonização do lixo urbano. Portal Rondonia Vivo, 11.07.2018. (Online, last accessed 30.11.2019)
[click to view]

[15] Manifesto Resíduo Zero (2019): Incineração de resíduos em fornos de cimento: riscos para a saúde e o meio ambiente. 11.04.2019. (Online, last accessed 30.11.2019)
[click to view]

[16] Globalrec (2019): Brasil: Gran movilización contra la incineración de residuos. 12.09.2019. (Online, last accessed 30.11.2019)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[9] Agora (2018): Prefeita de Cacoal suspende licença para queima de lixo. 21.06.2018. (Online, last accessed 30.11.2019)
[click to view]

[11] Agora (2018): Catadores de Rondônia lutam contra a carbonização do lixo urbano. 20.08.2018. (Online, last accessed 30.11.2019)
[click to view]

Other documents

Wastepicker movement demonstrating in 2018 (Rogério Aderbal, Tribuna Popular)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice Project (MS)
Last update20/01/2020
Conflict ID:4832
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.