Practical Solid Waste Management Solutions for Rural Community-based Tourism Companies in the Highlands of Bolivia

Practical Solid Waste Management Solutions for Rural Community-based Tourism Companies in the Highlands of Bolivia

Project Status: 18 month
La Paz on Foot Goals and Objectives

Waste management practices in rural communities in Bolivia are often limited to burning or burying refuse or simply throwing it into waterways, down hillsides or on the ground. Community-based tourism initiatives in Bolivia are bringing more people into rural landscapes and as a result practical solid waste management systems are an urgent need.

The goal of this project is to develop local capacity to diagnose, design and implement practical and inexpensive solid waste management solutions for rural communities in Bolivia with active community-based tourism companies.

The objectives are to:

1. Create a small team of local experts that can work with 1-2 pilot communities to diagnose solid waste patterns, problems and solutions;

2. Support the design and implementation of sustainable community-based waste management systems for the pilot communities;

3. Identify tools and opportunities for replicating the systems in other communities.

Raising community pride and making an impression on clients

The local communities where the project is implemented will benefit from cleaner households, fields, roadways and landscapes and they will feel prouder about their communities. They will also be trained to implement the community-based waste management systems. On the other hand, clients will see their activities and this will encourage them to be “light-footed” travelers in general.

A long-term and sustainable collaboration between travel companies and rural communities

Community-based tourism permits the development of long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between urban travel companies and rural partners. We currently work in more than 20 rural communities throughout the Central Andes and regularly visit them with our clients. Our project will create a small, flexible, fair/low-cost and culture-savvy team that can go community to community. Once the correct tools are identified and perfected, designed they can implement community-based solid waste management systems in each place. If done well this could have a great impact, beyond the communities where we currently work.

Our network in the communities where we propose project implementation includes local government, schools (students, parents and direction), community-based tourism initiatives and agencies in La Paz. According to the project design and implementation plan we can activate and manage the participation of the appropriate stakeholders in each network.


Tourist volunteers regularly come in the rural communities where we work. We also work with several international companies and organizations that organize volunteer opportunities. Once the project has been designed and we are in the implementation preparation phase we will be able identify and search for volunteers. In this case, bi-lingual volunteers with interests and/or experience in practical solid waste management will be preferred.


Stephen Taranto