The TUMI Challenge 'Re-Ciclo' in Fortaleza, Brazil supported e-tricycles for recyclable waster collectors in Brazil.
Re-Ciclo has proven that e-mobility is a solution for collecting recycling materials within communities of Fortaleza... and beyond.


Project Description

Even though informal recycler- in Portuguese called “catadores”, contribute positively to environmental protection and resource efficiency, they are among the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in Brazilian cities. The TUMI project “RE-CICLO” in Fortaleza sought to improve the live hood of catadores and, at the same time, increase Fortaleza’s recycling rates by introducing electric assist and manual cargo bikes as an efficient and sustainable mode of transport. Through data collection and route optimization, the pilot also created a valuable information basis to expand the use of cargo bikes for further services of urban logistics in Fortaleza. Workshops, media campaigns, and sensitization activities build awareness among the population on waste separation, recycling, and the benefits of cycle-logistics.

The TUMI Challenge RE-CICLO was carried out together with the Municipality of Fortaleza and the Latin American Development Bank (CAF) on behalf of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


2019: data gathering on mobility patterns and recycling rates of catadores in Fortaleza

2020: accreditation of local catadores’ associations. Tricycle prototyping.

2021: pilot project / test driving the first 20 e-tricycles. Maintenance & efficient driving workshops.

2022: Awareness and registration campaign; publication of handbook on the implementation of RE-CICLO.

Project's Objective

The project’s three main objectives were:

  • Test and the use of electric assist tricycles in the collection of recyclables and new urban logistics.
  • Improving the rate of recycling in the city,
  • Improving the collector’s quality of life and work.

Key Outputs

  • Introduction of 16 electric assisted tricycles to improve solid waste collection efficiency.
  • Technical training to give maintenance to the cycling units.
  • Communication, data and reporting skills to improve collecting services.

Main Outcomes

  • During the implementation of RE-CICLO, the collector’s payment increased by 40%.
  • The collectors that use an e-tricycle report traveling distances twice as long as those before.
  • 50% of the visited residence and businesses during the campaign, demonstrated an interest in joining and doing a proper waste separation.
  • Improvement on the overall health and working conditions of the collectors.
  • Awareness campaigns to sensitize citizens on benefits of recycling and cycle logistics.

Challenges and Learnings



  • Building a resilient relationship with the implementing partners (Municipalities and collectors) to carry the process through during ordinary and even extraordinary (pandemic) times and generate acceptance towards the proposed change within the group of participants.
  • Empathy and trust: the advisors were keen to observe and listen to the needs the collectors shared with regards of size and the distance capacity of the units.
  • Technological accompaniment to give maintenance to the cycling units proved to be fundamental to the project success.

Technological Challenges

  • Initial prototypes tested did not meet the needs of demands of the collectors. Adjustments were made to the dimensions and electrical motors to ensure enough materials can be safely transported.
  • Some electrical failures plagued the entire fleet which was repaired but showed that close accompaniment (support) of the technological supplier is key.

Cultural challenges

  • In Brazil there are traditional prejudices towards collectores and their trade, which can be overcome and give dignity to those saving the city.

Potentials for Scaling Up

  • Municipalities with high engagement/commitment towards e mobility and infrastructure investment.
  • Cities with collecting associations interested in improving the collection system with tricycles.
  • Municipalities interested on the case/sharing similarities and implementing similar pilot-initiatives.

Available Media

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More Information

Video | TUMI Challenge Fortaleza

Caderno | RE-CICLO: Triciclos elétricos para coleta de materiais recicláveis (portuguese)

The Team

Victor Valente

component manager

Verena Flues

component manager

Supported by


Development Bank of Latin America

CAF is a development bank created in 1970, owned by 19 countries - 17 of Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal- as well as 13 private banks in the region. It promotes a sustainable development model through credit operations, non-reimbursable resources, and support in the technical and financial structuring of projects in the public and private sectors of Latin America.

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Re-ciclo Fortaleza

Re-ciclo is a free recyclable collection platform in Fortaleza. Carried out by the City Hall together with SOLOS and iFood, we connect collectors to you who want to recycle.

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

GIZ provides services worldwide in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. GIZ has over 50 years of experience in a wide variety of areas, including economic development and employment, energy and the environment, and peace and security. The diverse expertise of our federal enterprise is in demand around the globe, with the German Government, European Union institutions, the United Nations and governments of other countries all benefiting from these services. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is the main commissioning party, but GIZ also works with the private sector, fostering successful interaction between development policy and foreign trade.

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Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is headed by the Minister, Svenja Schulze, the Parliamentary State Secretaries, Dr. Bärbel Kofler and Niels Annen, and the State Secretary, Jochen Flasbarth. When Germany provides a developing country with a low-interest loan, when German experts advise the government of a partner country on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) or when private German organisations carry out projects in developing countries, these are all approaches involving direct development cooperation between Germany and its partners. Besides engaging in such bilateral development cooperation activities, Germany is also involved in activities for the benefit of the developing countries at the international level.

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