Daily around 40 tons of plastic waste are not collected or recycled in Costa Rica, which means that they remain in the environment, affecting terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
If the amount of plastic waste that has leaked into the environment during this century were processed, 314 thousand tons of this waste would not have reached landfills or been recycled.
To face this environmental problem, an alliance between the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Pedregal company, and CRDC Global intends to remove 200 thousand tons of this non-recoverable waste (tragic plastic) from the environment by the year 2030.
Cleaning and recycling campaigns, added to a logistics network for the recovery of non-reusable plastic waste, is part of the strategy that seeks to involve citizens and private actors in this national goal.
Costa Rica was the first to solve the problem
“Our vision is to make Costa Rica the first country in the world to solve the tragic plastic problem. We have formidable allies and we want to organize a national campaign in which no one is left behind by participating in a historical solution that can inspire the rest of the world,” said José Vicente Troya, UNDP Resident Representative in Costa Rica.
Project “Landscapes without plastics”
The project “Landscapes without plastics” will establish private and municipal collection and recycling centers, which will function as transfer points for non-recoverable waste to a processing plant in Pedregal, where it will be transformed into raw material for the construction industry. Concrete blocks and pavers, ready-mix concrete, asphalt and other products will be manufactured with this waste.
Between July 2022 and December 2025, the project’s first stage will be developed, where 14 routes will be available; while, for the second, between January 2026 and December 2030, it is expected to reach a total of 24 routes. The project plan is to install 125 compaction equipment in the transfer centers during the first stage, starting from the second half of 2022.
“This alliance will allow us to provide a definitive and sustainable solution to all plastic waste; allowing our country to continue positioning itself as a world benchmark in sustainable development and in protecting the environment,” said David Zamora, Commercial Director of Pedregal.
As part of the waste collection strategy, plastic waste collection fences will be installed in four of the most polluted rivers in Costa Rica: the Virilla, Grande de Tárcoles, Parismina and Térraba.
For the second semester of 2022, the first collection fence will be placed, in the Virilla River, at the height of San Antonio de Belén, in the Tajo Pedregal; while the second will be placed in the first half of 2023 in the Tárcoles river near Orotina. Institutions, companies, organizations, and individuals who wish to join this initiative can do so by filling out an online form and will then be contacted.