Environmental Education Program of the Campo Limpo System: encouraging shared responsibility in solid waste management – SDG 12 and SDG4

The Environmental Education Program of the Campo Limpo System* is a complementary education initiative aimed at 4th and 5th year students in Brazil.
Every year, the Program distributes thousands of educational kits free of charge to schools across the country in order to raise awareness to teachers and students on shared responsibility in solid waste management, including the recommendations of SDG 12.
Between 2010 and 2018, around 1.4 million students were benefitted. Currently, the Program is expanding and anticipating to reach more than 2.5 thousand schools in 2019.
(*) In English, “Campo Limpo” means “Clean Field”.

Objective of the practice

In 2010, in Brazil, the National Solid Waste Policy was instituted (Law nº 12.305), which requires the implantation of strategies for shared responsibility of society in the search for sustainable production and consumption patterns.
Among other determinations, this law foresees the creation of reverse logistic systems aiming to enable to collection and restitution of solid waste to manufacturers of industrialized products after use. In these systems, all participants of the product’s life cycle should work together in collaboration: government, manufacturers, importers, distributors, merchants and end consumers.
With the publication of this law, Brazilian society was summoned to participate and take responsibility for the adequate management of solid waste, in all locations of the country. This law also determines the implantation of environmental education actions aiming to raise awareness among the different stakeholders of society.
Although the National Policy entered into force before the publication of the UN 2030 Agenda (2015), its requirements are perfectly aligned to Sustainable Development Goal 12, which recommends to member countries that they “ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns”. Target 12.5 specifically recommends “by 2030, to reduce substantially the generation of waste through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse”.
In 2010 - same year of the publication of the National Policy - the Environmental Education Program of the Campo Limpo System was created by the National Institute for Processing Empty Packages (inpEV), with the following objectives:
1. Raise teachers and 4th and 5th year students’ awareness on the shared responsibility of different stakeholders of society on sustainable management of empty packages and other solid wastes.
2. Encourage attitude changes and the protagonism of these students aiming the adoption of conscious consumption practices that contribute to the non-generation, reduction, reuse, recycle and treatment of solid waste, as well as the environmentally correct disposal of waste.
From 2016, the Program aligned its actions to the propositions of Agenda 2030, including this theme among the contents and educational practices, aimed at raising awareness of teachers and students.
In this context, one of the challenges of the Program is to “translate” to the school public the definitions and obligations of the National Policy, as well as the propositions of the 2030 Agenda by providing information and educational practices that encourage attitude changes.
In addition to contributing to the implementation of SDG 12, the program also contributes to the accomplishment of SDG 4, which recommends to member countries “assure inclusive and equitable quality education, and promote learning opportunities throughout life for all”. By offering qualified educational materials, the Program contributes to the implementation of goal 4.7, which recommends “by 2030, ensure that all students have gained necessary knowledge and abilities to promote sustainable development”.

Key stakeholders and partnerships

Financing and general coordination: National Institute for Processing Empty Packages (inpEV).
Educational coordination and production of print and digital content: Olhar Cidadão (third party consulting firm).
Interaction and local mobilization: coordinators of the Centers for collection of empty packages of crop protection products of the Campo Limpo System of inpEV (Collection Centers).
Strategic partnerships: Education Departments of the municipal and state networks.
Implementation: (1) managing teams of the schools located in the surroundings of the Collection Centers and (2) 4th and 5th year teachers of these schools.
Beneficiaries: 4th and 5th year students.

Implementation of the Project/Activity

inpEV is a non-profit organization maintained by more than 100 crop protection manufacturers and bodies representing the sector. Its objective is to promote the correct destination of empty packages of crop protection products, as required by the Brazilian legislation, which also determines the implementation of educational programs by the manufacturers.
inpEV operates the reverse logistic of this type of packages across the country, through the Campo Limpo System, in which it functions as a core intelligence service. The System is the largest and the most efficient program of its kind in the world. Since 2002, it has removed from the field more than 500 thousand tons of empty packages, correctly disposing 94% of the commercialized packages in Brazil. In parallel, it develops environmental education actions for different audiences.
The Collection Centers are one of the operating arms of the Campo Limpo System. They have the responsibility of (1) receiving and adequately storing empty packages delivered by farmers and (2) forwarding this material to its final destination (recycling or incineration). The Centers are geographically distributed throughout the country, are installed according to technical requirements and licensed for operation by the government.
One of the goals of these Centers is to implement the PEA Campo Limpo in schools located in its surroundings, in urban and rural areas. For this reason, they are constantly interacting with Education Departments and schools. Several Centers receive students from nearby schools for educational visits during the year.
The implementation cycle of the PEA Campo Limpo is annual. The main resource for the feasibility of the Program is an educational kit, which is produced the year before its implementation.
This kit comprises print material for the teacher and for the student, such as teacher book, thematic posters and playful materials. The PEA also provides a website with additional information, videos and educational materials, including an online game. The printed kits are distributed to schools within the network of the Collection Centers across the country after summer vacation, from February on.
The annual editions of the PEA address the issue of shared responsibility in solid waste management in several aspects: the commitment of society, the role of school and of family, the student’s protagonism. The idea is to offer knowledge and suggest practices that are adequate to the context in which the students live, so that they can understand the environmental challenges involved and take part in the solution.
This includes learning sustainable consumption attitudes, through a strategy aligned with SDG 12, known as the “5Rs”: Repurpose and think about consumption decisions, Reduce consumption, Refuse products that can cause damage to the environment, Reuse products expanding its life cycle, Recycle packages and clean waste through its correct destination.
The PEA also organizes an annual contest of drawings and essays for students, comprising two phases: local, organized by the Collection Centers and national, organized by the inpEV management team.


Since its initial edition, the PEA Campo Limpo has been expanding consistently. The following are indicators that show such evolution:
Nº of participant schools: 1,022 (2010) and 2,462 (2018)
Nº of 4th and 5th year students benefitted: 70,916 (2010) and 230,857 (2018)
Nº of 4th and 5th grade classes benefited: 2,364 (2010) and 9,722 (2018)
Nº of municipalities served: 163 (2010) and 295 (2018)
Considering the cumulative total, the PEA already benefitted 1.4 million students. In 2018, 8 thousand printed kits were distributed in 298 of the 5,570 Brazilian municipalities (5% of the total), distributed in 23 States (85% of the total).
Testimonies of key stakeholders of the PEA:
João Rando, director president of inpEV: “This program has become of great relevance within the reverse logistic system. We have capillarity as a very important asset. This provides us with a natural vocation to take environmental education to many places and remote places (…) It is not simple to deal with the National Solid Waste Policy and with shared responsibility with children. It was necessary to adapt the language and to bring the topic closer to their daily lives. However, we can see that the strategy worked.”
Julia Tomchinsky, educational coordinator of the PEA: “4th and 5th year students have a peculiarity: they are pre-teens who question themselves about the context in which they are inserted. They realize that the choices they make have a return, not only to their lives, but to everyone’s (…) In terms of content, the idea was to think about small responsibilities that children can assume in their daily lives and what small changes they can adopt in their everyday life that will have repercussions in a larger context.”
Avelina Granado, Municipal Education Department of Taubate (SP): “The PEA rouses awareness not only of the child, but also of the teacher and the rest of the community (…) Educators love the material that comes ready to use, it is very didactic, easy to access. The PEA makes the work easier, enriching the environmental education contents that teachers develop in the classroom.”
Eglair Santos, educational coordinator of school in Rio Brilhante (MS): “It is a very well accepted initiative in our school. We embrace the PEA because it proposes something new and the students get involved quickly. They love the essay and drawing contest. The teachers also wait anxiously because they know the PEA has much to add to their work. I see the results on a daily basis, in the way the students talk about the subject, express themselves and alert other classmates about sustainable attitudes at school.”
Andrea Oliveira, mother of students: “I think the PEA initiative is important because it encourages the children to conserve the environment, to not throw trash in inadequate places, to value nature (…) I have two kids in this school and I see how their behavior has changed. Isabela alerts us, keeps an eye on everything here at home.”

Enabling factors and constraints

The first favorable aspect to the implementation of the PEA Campo Limpo is the capillarity of its network of Collection Centers of the Campo Limpo System. Brazil is a country of continental dimensions. Most of its municipalities are small, in locations distant from large urban centers. It is quite challenging to take a nationwide environmental education program to urban and rural schools without the support of a local network of conscious mobilizers. Because of this, the public-private partnership is key for its success.
The Collection Centers have as part of their targets the promotion of environmental education actions for several audiences, in the locations where they operate. This is an important success factor in the implementation of the PEA. There are numerous reports of Center coordinators that, in addition to the processes of enrollment and distribution of educational kits, stimulate and accompany their implementation in schools. The expressive participation of students in essay and drawing contests is an important indicator of this mobilization, since the proposed themes are always related to the content of the printed kit.
Another important factor in favor of the adherence of schools is the alignment of the PEA educational content to the guidelines of the federal educational policies aimed at the improvement of the quality of education. It is always very challenging to promote the adhesion of schools and teachers to a complementary school program without it being aligned to the curricular proposal of the school systems. Alignment with public policies is a premise of the PEA since its first edition.
Recently (2017), the National Common Core Curriculum (BNCC) was approved, a document of normative character that defines the combination of organic and progressive lessons which are essential to all students in the stages and modalities of Basic Education. In the field of Sciences, among other aspects, the BNCC recognizes that (1) citizen participation is a competence to be developed since the first years of schooling and that (2) scientific literacy is the main strategy for achieving this goal in environmental issues. Both aspects integrate the educational proposal of the PEA.
Analyzes point to a large potential of alignment between the 17 SDGs and the cognitive and attitudinal competences defined by BNCC for several levels of Basic Education. Thus, with the aim of emphasizing the relationship between the SDGs and shared responsibility of society on the adequate management of solid waste, in addition to the challenges proposed in SDG 12, the PEA presents to the school audience more general aspects, such as the historical context of the Sustainable Development Summit of 2015, the Agenda 2030 proposal, its SDGs and targets.
In the PEA 2019 edition, a collaborative game called “Planet Guardians and the SDGs” was developed, seeking to “translate” the essential content of each of the 17 Goals to the level of child comprehension. Pre-tests carried out indicate a great interest of children in the topic. See images of this game in the section “Optional photos that illustrate the good practice”.

Sustainability and replicability

Since its creation, the PEA Campo Limpo has taken educational kits to schools and educational networks in the locations where there are Centers for Collection of the Campo Limpo system. This has been of great help for the coordinators of these Centers to establish an important network of relationships based on mutual trust with the government, communities, schools and families.
The PEA indicators are quite significant, considering the scope of other similar environmental education programs supported by non-governmental organizations in Brazil. One of the reasons for the high level of success in the application of the Program is the commitment of the Collections Centers, which have PEA as a results target in their daily routine.
Still, the inpEV team have sought new strategies for the expansion of its scope, considering that the issue of shared responsibility in solid waste is of national interest.
In 2019, the number of copies of the printed kit was expanded from 8 thousand to 9 thousand copies, in response to the increasing demand of requests for inclusion of new schools forwarded to the Collection Centers. In parallel, inpEV has been analyzing ways to expand the Program that do not depend on the local network of the Centers. In this sense, there are two proposals in initial development stages.
One of the proposals of inpEV is to take the Program’s positive agenda to the urban populations living in large capitals and, therefore, distant from the rural daily life. The intention is to share the same PEA materials, with independent executive management of the Collection Centers, thus sharing an educational content that is relevant to all Brazilian municipalities, which are required by law to implement municipal plans for the management of solid waste.
The initial idea, still in negotiation phase, is to establish the Program in the city of Sao Paulo (SP), where the headquarters of inpEV and several of its associated companies are located. The city’s public school system, which comprises the age group proposed by the PEA, is composed of more than 500 schools and 98,000 students in the 4th and 5th grades. The proposal under evaluation foresees a series of actions, including institutional interactions with the Municipal Government; dialogues with technicians of the Municipal Education Department; development, implementation and monitoring of the pilot project; as well as interaction with potential funders after the results of the pilot project.
A second proposal which is being evaluated, in addition to the implementation if large capitals, is to disseminate the PEA content to primary school teachers through new forms of engagement and with other models of financing. Due to the complexity of this theme, inpEV intends to organize, in 2019, a planning workshop with the participation of the internal team, associated industry representatives and external consultants with experience in management in the field of public education, social and environmental projects and social businesses. InpEV intends to develop a proposal for the expansion of the PEA based on the conclusions from this workshop.


Focus on sustainability is at the heart of inpEV’s work. By assuring agility, efficiency and safety in the processing of empty packages of crop protection products through the Campo Limpo System, inpEV collaborates directly with the reduction of the risks and impacts related to the incorrect destination of the material, contributing to environmental conservation. Through systematic work in education, inpEV strengthens awareness of specific audiences and promotes social mobilization, bases for the perpetuation of responsible management of environmental risks.
This is the context in which the PEA Campo Limpo was designed and has been implemented since 2010 in thousands of Brazilian schools, with benefits to teachers, students and families.
Ensuring production and consumption patterns, as proposed in SDG 12, should be a commitment of society as a whole. Among other aspects, the new generations should be prepared for the challenge to reduce substantially the generation of residues through prevention, reduction, recycle and reuse (SDG – goal 12.5). For this, the Campo Limpo System mobilizes its best attributes – geographic capillarity and excellence in institutional interaction – aiming to promote awareness and encourage attitude changes with students at school age.
Within the AWARENESS scope, the PEA presents the environmental benefits resulting from the voluntary and conscious participation of society in processes that reduce the generation of empty packages and other solid wastes. It also seeks to show the negative impacts of that not being done, such as soil, surface water and groundwater contamination, and the reduction of the lifecycle of landfills.
Within the ATTITUDE CHANGE scope, the PEA recognizes that the student’s protagonism in environmental matters is a competence to be developed since the first years of schooling through the development of the ability to implement actions aiming a sustainable world. For this, it suggests to teachers educational activities that encourage the student to search for sustainable solutions for the challenges involved in waste management in the environments where they live and study, that is: within their family, at school and in the community.
All of the content offered by the PEA is aligned with the federal public policies in the areas of education and environment, and with the international treaties related to this theme, such as the UN 2030 Agenda. This alignment is important to (1) meet the requirements of the National Solid Waste Policy (federal law nº 12.305/2010) and (2) to promote higher adherence with the content of the mandatory curriculum for 4th and 5th years of Primary School.
In methodological terms, the PEA is aligned with the reference for scientific literacy of classes in the initial years of Primary School defined by the National Common Core Curriculum (2017). This reference comprises four dimensions: problem definition; gathering, analysis and representation of data; communication of discoveries and intervention in real life.
These are the advantages of PEA Campo Limpo.

Other sources of information

Official website of the National Institute for Processing Empty Packages (inpEV), in english: https://www.inpev.org.br/en/inpev/

InpEV institutional vídeo, in english: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=124j1XiYHIA

Official website of the Environmental Education Program Environmental Education Program of the Campo Limpo System (PEA Campo Limpo), in Portuguese: http://inpevcampolimpo.org.br/

Video report about the results of the PEA Campo Limpo in the town of Luis Eduardo Magalhaes (BA), in 2017, in Portuguese: https://tvuol.uol.com.br/video/sistema-campo-limpo-educacao-ambiental-nas-escolas-04024D9B3964E4916326

Video about the PEA Campo Limpo, 2017 edition, in Portuguese: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnPbUfKSluM

Video about the PEA Campo Limpo, 2018 edition, in Portuguese: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftkqCExOEq4

Map with location of the 298 Brazilian cities served by the Environmental Education Program of the Campo Limpo System in 2018: http://bit.ly/map-pea-2018

Overview of teaching materials provided in the printed kit of the 2019 edition of the PEA Campo Limpo, in Portuguese: http://inpevcampolimpo.org.br/pea-2019/

Goal 4
Goal 12
Financing (in USD)
177,257 USD
Basic information
Start: 01 January, 2010
Completion: 31 December, 2019
Ongoing? no
Latin America and the Caribbean
Geographical Coverage
The Program operates in schools located in 298 Brazilian towns (5% of the country total), distributed in 23 states (85% of the country total). See map with location of these towns in the section “Other sources of information”.
inpEV - Instituto Nacional de Processamento de Embalagens Vazias (National Institute for Processing Empty Packages)
Type: Civil society organization
Contact information
Maria Helena Zucchi Calado, Gerente de Sustentabilidade (Sustainability Manager), mhelena.calado@inpev.org.br, 55 11 991767273
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