PROTRASH’S Winning Strategy to Clean Up Poverty and Waste!

The world needs social entrepreneurs and it is our mission to help create 1 million Change Creators in the next 10 years. That’s why we want to celebrate those social enterprises that are on the ground changing the world and making money while doing it. Every week, I choose an amazing team, individual, or social enterprise out there changing the world. Let’s get started!



 Team Members

  • Andrea García López
  • Valeria Sanchez Navarro
  • Yuvia Lopez
  • Monica Lopez Vargas

They are a team of four Mexican women, Andrea, Valeria, Yuvia, Monica, eager to create more economic opportunities for our country. They have grown up seeing wealth polarization, poverty, and waste accumulation all their lives and they decided to take action in order to change this reality.

How long have you been running this business?

2 years


PROTRASH is a social enterprise that empowers women in low-income communities, by exchanging their recyclable waste for money in an expense card.

What are the big problems that PROTRASH is solving?

  • Poverty
  • Waste accumulation
  • Wealth polarization

How is PROTRASH solving the problems?

They generate a sustainable culture in low-income communities, collecting the recyclable materials in order to generate an extra income, that we pay with a card in order to create a financial inclusion.

What is PROTRASH business model? How does PROTRASH make money?

They collect the trash in the communities and sell it to recycling industries. From every Kilo they sell 60% goes to the community, and 40% goes to PROTRASH as gross margin.

What has been the biggest challenge and how did PROTRASH overcome it?

The process of getting the government permits was a huge challenge — they couldn’t operate without them. They created a model that circumvented that process so they could continue forward.

What has PROTRASH accomplished?

  • They currently have 89 active users and operate in 4 communities in Mexico
  • 4300 kg of recyclable waste has been collected
  • Selected as one of Top 5 finalists at Hult Prize for 2016
Team Pro Trash presents during the Hult Prize Finals and Awards Dinner 2016 at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in New York. (Mark Von Holden/AP Images for Hult Prize Foundation)

Related: 5 Women Social Entrepreneurs Reinventing the World (Get Inspired)

What impact has PROTRASH had?

They are changing the way people collect and repurpose their trash, creating income for families. This creates a new system of economic opportunity for communities while improving the environment on a real grassroots level.

PROTRASH pays people in low-income communities with an expense card which can cover their basic necessities.

What’s next for PROTRASH?

  • Expanding PROTRASH Machine —  a more compact machine that can be placed anywhere in the city, an original model of exchanging waste for incentives.
  • Creating PROTRASH Card —  which gives people more access to their points for goods, or allows them to give them back to reinvest in expanding their impact. The machine can be adapted to any place where there is electricity and where the points accumulated in the PROTRASH card by the person inserting the recyclable materials can be exchanged.

  • Developing PROTRASH App for smartphones that registers every transaction of recycling waste that is made in the center. The mobile device is connected to the scale with Bluetooth and transfers a number of points for every transaction automatically to the PROTRASH card.

Why should we pay attention to PROTRASH?

Because they are a company that is focusing on revitalizing low-income communities by implementing a sustainable culture, so they can lift their economy by themselves. We’ll be on the lookout for what these women can do! 

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