Encourage people to adopt the selective collection, providing the liquidity of energy bills with exchange recyclable waste. The control of the entire process is done through a computer system composed of identification cards registration machine likes credit card machines connected to a central Web interface, allowing online management of information.
After research with poor communities in the state of Ceará (Brazil) was identified that the greatest need was these people pay their energy bills. The power company Ceará - COELCE developed a systemic and integrated solution to contribute to the reduction of environmental problems caused by waste and financial needs of poor people.
The ECOELCE was designed and formatted following the strategic plan premises of the COELCE and is the leading benchmark for sustainable development initiatives promoted by the company. The discounts are, especially for low income customers, a strong impact on reducing family expenses.
Initially the idea was to reach low income public, but soon concluded that the initiative should be encouraged with all individual and corporate clients of the company because the more members, better for the environment and for customers.
For ECOELCE implementation and operationalization was the integration and coordination of knowledge (market research, customers needs, the idea of exchanging recyclable waste for off electric bill, necessary adjustments made during the pilot project and operationalization), skills (creating a system of information management, partnerships with recycling companies and associations, customer service and availability of discounts) and attitudes (effectively putting the project to work), which made the program make a difference of action.
The initial idea was that COELCE customers lead waste to the company and, in return, receive a coupon for discounts. It seemed interesting, but the project was beyond the reach of the main business and it would be pointless COELCE receiving, storing and selling recyclable waste.
However, the essence of the proposal was quite interesting and was further developed to see how COELCE could turn this idea into a project that makes sense to the business, meeting customer needs and demonstrating commitment to society and the environment. The security process was very analyzed. The security process was very analyzed. For there is no movement of currency, was thought to use bonuses directly on energy bills. To do this we developed a computerized system for managing Ecoelce connected to the billing system of enterprise customers.
The Ecoelce program, launched in 2007, can exchange recyclabe trash for bonuses on their energy bill. A pioneer in Brazil, the program was replicated in other companies of the group and in 2008, we received from the United Nations (UN), the World Business and Development Award (WBDA). The Ecoelce Program motivates the population of Ceara to adopt selective garbage collection in their households, providing, in counter part, an alternative to contribute to the payment of their energy bill with the use of the collected residues.
The recyclable garbage is taken to a collection post and it is automatically transformed into points which are then put on an electronic card as credit, which is used to calculate the discount on the client’s energy bill. The project guarantees social results - specially to the low income population, this amount saved can also be directed to the purchase of food or help pay the rent - , environmental - generating less garbage to be put into public garbage dumps by not extracting raw materials from nature and transforming them into consumable goods - and economic - the reduction of costs of city expenditures in the treatment of these residues.
2012, the Ecoelce Program was present in 49 communities, coming to a total of 65 collection stations. Currently the program accounts for 13,601 tons of trash properly, 418.832 million consumers registered and US$ 751,708 granted bonuses.
From information obtained from the evaluation of socioeconomic impacts of the program, participants spend up ECOELCE US$ 0.15 less on energy bill for every 1% more waste than they intended to recycling that is, if a person today, it recycles spent absolutely nothing to recycle 100% of their household waste, it would decrease to US$ 15 on the value of your electric bill just by having environmentally conscious about their own actions. It is also estimated that based on the sample, in the year 2011, customers ECOELCE generated an economic benefit of US$ 103,340 through environmental knowledge added by the program.
The ECOELCE has specific objectives:
- Contribute with the income generation and the liquidity of the energy bills of low income population.
- Provide profitable occupation in areas of risk.
- Contribute with the reduction of the electric clandestine connections.
- Contribute with the reduction of the breach of meters of energy.
- Reduce the diseases caused by the pollution of the solid residues exposed to the environment
- Provide a cultural change in the population, allowing the knowledge of the use and reuse of the natural resources and of the real contribution of his acts for the life of the new generations.
- Allow and to guarantee the citizenship, thinking which counts of energy and of other public utilities indicate and confirm the dwelling.
Reduce the environmental impact provoked by the solid residues, lifting up his rate of recycling and economy of energy.
To participate the customer goes to any ECOELCE collection station with your eletric bill, sign the declaration of compliance program and then receive the ECOELCE card. In this card has a consumer unit identification where will the discounts.
When joining the program, the customer is instructed to bring their recyclable waste
adequately separated by category, as each type has a specific value and will be added to give the bonus granted.
Each residue has its value in kilo or liter or unit. The ECOELCE receives many types of waste: paper, cardboard, PET bottles, aluminun cans, steel cans, glass, irons generally, tetrapak, plastics and cooking oil.
After separation of the waste, the client will take the waste to any ECOELCE collection station with your card. The recyclable waste will be weighed separately because each has specific value. The weight of this waste will be recorded in the POS machine collection, designed to receive and transmit data.
The machine is automatically added to the value of customer credit, based on the current price of recyclable waste, registering credit, date and time of the transaction on the ECOELCE card. Finally, print a voucher which is delivered to the customer upon the return your card. This voucher is proof that the operation was successful.
The credits generated in collection stations are sent by GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) for Central Processing. Credit operations are organized according to the collection station responsible for the operation, enabling the monitoring of the activities of each station. Informations are available online at Management System, enabling web control and verification of all the process.
Daily, the central processing generates a file containing date information, code of consumer units, amount to be credited and identification of the collecting agent responsible for collection station.
At the end of the billing period, the system performs the sum of the bonuses obtained by each customer and generates the energy bill with low value. If the total value of credits earned is greater than the total amount owed by the customer, the excess credits are transferred automatically to the composition of the next bill, avoiding any injury to the client.
The Ecoelce System was developed in independent platform, just unilateral communication with billing customers COELCE base, and internet interfaces, where you can see information control and management of Collection Stations, waste traded, registered customers and total bonuses received by Consumer Units participants. The access to basic management of the program is with password.
In October 2006 the system began operating as a pilot project for employees of the Company and in January 2007, came to be applied in three poor communities in capital city. This phase served to adjustments as the project would reach 450 families and the program could already be modeled very close to realiy. In March 2007, ECOELCE out of its pilot phase and wins his first collection station fixed, open daily during business hours to the exchange of recyclables per discounts on electricity bills with organized disposal of collected waste to the recycling industry.
The first thing to do is check viability to serve customers, partner with recyclers and prepare a management system of information necessary for execution.
The partnership with the recycling company is critical because they are who define what types of waste will be received through the program Ecoelce well as the market values of each type of waste. Who makes the operation of these collection points are recycling companies representing COELCE.
These companies are responsible for the final disposal of such waste and must have an environmental permit to operate.
We provide information management system, the bonus system in electric bills, POS machines, communication material, coordination and structure of the collection points.
Coelce has no profit from this initiative. The biggest benefit is the positive return of the company image, spontaneous media, social and environmental contribution, profitability for shareholders by value gain, partnerships, timely payments from customers and reduction of the electric clandestine connections.
The process works as follows: customer leaves residue and receives bonuses – COELCE provides bonuses - recycling company collects the residue and gives proper disposal .
On recycling´s energy bills will be increased to the the equivalent values given in discounts to customers during the billing period account, corresponding to residues that were delivered to the recycler. In short, what COELCE give in discounts, the recycler will pay the same amount on your energy bill.
The volume of resources involved in implementing the Program Ecoelce was US$ 231,560 including system development, purchasing servers and software specific to the database, acquiring machines POS (Point Of Sale) and card.
Companhia Energética do Ceará - COELCE, University of Fortaleza and KNBS Knowledge.