As mentioned in our previous blogs, Costa Ricans in general have not entirely developed a culture of being friendly with the environment. However, one of the issues that they are conscious about is recycling.
Although not all families separate their trash totally or partially, it is a fact that each day, there are more people willing to do so or doing it. There are also many organizations that promote it through campaigns of collection and information. For example, a national television channel makes a campaign named Ambientados. Costa Rica produces more than 11,000 tons of trash per day and approximately 9,000 can be recycled, so much more has to be done. They collect all kinds of materials once a month, with a major success of more than 200 tons of material monthly. A weak point of this system is that they define specific places to collect material, so you have to take them by your own. This might reduce the motivation for people to dispose of waste properly.
On the other hand, companies (especially big ones) have the proper containers for waste separation. At least, this pushes people to do it right at their workplaces.
In addition, we found out that legislation in our country includes a Law for Waste Management, which states that local governments must establish recycling programs for their communities. As we found in a study from the recycling organization Redcicla, only 30 of the 89 existing communities say they are making some efforts in this regard. However, as cited by the source many of them “do not even have a waste-management plan, so you should really check if this is real or is it another bureaucratic fantasy”. Hopefully, the place where we live is in the list of communities that have already taken their first steps on this issue.
As a part of our own efforts, we started with some good recycling practices. We bought appropriate labeled containers (cost: around ₡6,000.00 each, or about $12.00) and biodegradable bags.
We found that at the office building where Alberto works, they have a recycling material collection center. Consequently, we are not making anymore “special trips” to take our garbage for a proper disposal; he is just taking our recycling material bags in any regular day of work.
About labeled special containers, we decided to do it this way because we think is more organized and neat. Anyway, we talked to other people who also separate their garbage, and they told us that instead of these containers they have a small structure where they place different bags labeled. That should be enough and is a perfectly valid option for those who do not want to do the spending.
In addition to the separation of garbage, we are also now more aware of the use we give to recycling bags, so we try to make good use of the capacity of each. For example, we collapse Tetra Brik containers of juice or milk, so they occupy less space not only on our bag but on the recycling center itself also.
We have also introduced policies to reduce and reuse in our lives. Now we are more conscious on not buying things that we know will eventually throw away and also other things that we consider useless we are keeping them for alternative purposes these are good examples on how to reduce. Now we use old glass jars for keeping nails and other stuff.
Finally, we realized that we have a lot of clothes in good condition that do not use and are taking space at home. We did a little order to get separate these things and donate them to people who will reuse them.
The message that we have this week is that it doesn’t matter the size of the actions we take, small differences lead up to huge changes.