Farmers’ market vendors and SQM launch unprecedented zero organic waste project in María Elena

Farmers’ market vendors and SQM launch unprecedented zero organic waste project in María Elena


The initiative is part of the Recycling Bill promoted by the Environment Ministry. The milestone was announced to celebrate the group's 50th anniversary.

With the purpose of reducing and managing organic waste, the group representing the “Manuel Rodríguez” traveling farmers’ market in María Elena, with support from the Mr. Barber Foundation and SQM, launched an unprecedented project in northern Chile called Zero Organic Waste Traveling Farmers’ Market.

This initiative seeks to enable the merchants to segregate their organic waste and then generate natural fertilizers to be used in the various agro-educational projects in the district, such as the therapeutic greenhouse for the elderly and school gardens.

Ivonne Castillo, the group’s president, commented: “I am very happy because we are the first to manage our waste and reuse it to help the environment in our community. I am grateful for SQM’s support and we hope to continue working to improve the environment and development in María Elena.”

Meanwhile, SQM’s Head of Community Relations for its Pampa operations, Leonor González, said, “As a company we are very proud to be part of this project to be implemented in the district, which is possible thanks to the strategic alliance between SQM, the Mr. Barber Foundation and the group of vendors, with whom we will promote this pioneering initiative in northern Chile.”

This project is part of the Recycling Bill being developed by the Environment Ministry, which seeks to promote segregated collection of fruit and vegetable waste, thus transforming a problem into an opportunity and benefiting the population.

The Zero Organic Waste Traveling Farmers’ Market project will be executed by the Mr. Barber Foundation, which will implement recycling containers and teach the group how to correctly separate waste, thereby generating awareness among the group’s 22 members.

As explained by Carolina Elgueta, director of the Mr. Barber Foundation, “implementing this initiative will make it possible to control and reduce organic waste at the market. In addition, this waste will be converted into the necessary inputs for different environment-related community programs carried out in the district.”


Five decades serving the community.

This milestone took place during festivities to celebrate the group’s five decades of history at a 50th anniversary celebration organized by SQM in the Tomás Simunovic hall in María Elena.

In this context, María Alano, the group’s treasurer, commented “we are very grateful for this tremendous event planned by SQM to celebrate our group. We play an important role in the community since we deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to all the families in the Pampa.

At the celebration, the board and members were recognized for their contribution to María Elena’s development, a milestone marking the starting point of the group’s organic waste management project.