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  • Awarded: 2006
  • Issue Areas: Health · Livelihoods · Living Conditions · Sanitation
  • Countries Served: Bolivia · Brazil · Colombia · Mexico · Peru · Venezuela
  • Web:
  • About the Organization

    Ciudad Saludable (“Healthy City”) is a non-profit organization founded in 2002 that seeks to build healthy, inclusive cities where everyone can live in harmony, with justice and equality of opportunity.

    To do this, Ciudad Saludable believes in the need to build a new model of solid waste management, a model that is interdisciplinary, participatory, progressive, and innovative, and that involves the economic, social, and environmental inclusion of recyclers.

    Above all, Ciudad Saludable seeks to change attitudes towards the problem of inadequate management of solid waste, and the poverty and exclusion faced by more than 108,000 Peruvian families who work as recyclers.

    Ciudad Saludable’s programs are designed to impact the sustainable development of the green economy and public policy on solid waste management.

    Impoverished neighborhoods are commonly overrun with garbage and waste as the result of failed service markets.

    Ciudad Saludable engages micro-entrepreneurs to collect and process garbage for fees sufficient to support their business but affordable to poor communities.

    Social entrepreneur Albina Ruiz has demonstrated that when prices are reasonable, the poor are good customers who prefer to live in clean conditions.

    More than 6 million people in Latin America and India benefit from community-based waste management enterprises.

    Ambition for Change

    The relationship between impoverished communities and their environments is transformed through improved service quality and changes in values and behavior to maintain clean, healthy environments.

    Path to Scale

    Demonstration and Replication

    CS supports replication within Peru, providing consulting and business services as well as assistance to local programs seeking startup and operating capital. CS International, the global umbrella group, provides similar support and services to new enterprises in other countries, in part through a for-profit subsidiary.

    Business Model

    Business revenue supplemented by public and philanthropic support.

    Albina Ruiz started worrying about health and environmental problems caused by garbage in Peru when she was a student studying industrial engineering. After writing her thesis, she designed a community-managed system of waste collection that she hoped would serve as a model for urban and rural communities in Peru. The design featured local enterprises collecting and processing garbage, reducing waste volume in municipal landfills, and spinning off microenterprises to produce marketable products. She completed a doctoral degree in chemical engineering in Spain, returning to Lima in 2001. She founded Ciudad Saludable (Healthy City) with an ambition to develop it as a financially viable and sustainable business that would implement her design and engage poor communities as customers. CS’s model engages micro-entrepreneurs in impoverished communities to take charge of collecting and processing garbage for extremely low service fees, supported by creative marketing and educational programs to entice families to use services and pay for them regularly - effectively addressing the crucial element of behavioral change to sustainable waste management. At the time of the Award, the model was working in several of Peru’s major cities and being replicated in Venezuela; CS’s ambition was to grow to 20 major cities in Peru and build a franchise model for replications in other countries as well.

    Impact & Accomplishments

    • CS has organized more than 1,500 waste collectors, creating employment and improving health and living conditions for more than 6 million people living in poor urban and rural regions in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and India.
    • CS reaches 30 percent of Peru’s population with waste collection services in 1,835 cities.
    • In partnership with recycling companies, the CS team have developed a distance education program that has trained 300 professionals from Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru in the complete management of residues.
    • Instrumental in the creation of the first law in Peru (also the first in Latin America) to regulate recycling, adopted in 2010.


    Albina RuizFounder and President, Ciudad Saludable
    Berenice Adrianzen ZegarraResponsible for the design and monitoring of projects, Ciudad Saludable
    Luciana LimaStrategic Partnerships Manager, Ciudad Saludable

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