Costa Rican companies are turning trash into profit by recycling discarded materials into new products. Through their renewal of glass, paper, or plastic goods, these businesses have not only capitalized on the economic benefits, but they also conserve natural resources and minimize pollution.
A few local recycling businesses at the Feria Ambiental in the Antigua Aduana are able to show visitors the impact of buying and selling reused materials.
Flavio Amador of Reciclaje Thames said his business collects any thrown away material they can to turn them into artwork or furniture. Reciclaje Thames makes paintings and notecards out of recycled paper, portraits on recycled bottles, and furniture from reused wood.
Another source of recycled furniture in Costa Rica comes from the much larger and more recognizable brand of The Coca-Cola Co. The Latin American presence, Coca-Cola Fomento Económico Mexicano, S.A., focuses on recycling bottles into shelving material or cardboard into comfortable benches.
As the largest bottler of Coca-Cola in the world, the Fomento works in nine different Latin American countries, including Costa Rica. A representative on site at the fair said the company has recycled 640 million bottles from the region’s rivers and oceans, often turning them into supplies and furniture for nearby schools.
Costa Rica’s large drink and food producer, Florida Ice & Farm Co., is also represented at the environmental fair. The company known for making Imperial beer said that it recycled 4,235 tons of bottles, cans, and polylaminates in 2013. Florida then processes the recovered trash and sells it to recycling companies, mostly U.S.-based, who turn the material into usable products like T-shirts or glassware.
The company Grupo Vical also works throughout Central America, specializing in the recycling of glass bottles. Grupo Vical uses only glass because it can be 100 percent recycled with an infinite amount of reuses. The business even accepts broken glass, which it then sorts by color to remake into full bottles again.
Armando Salas from Recyplast, S.A. in Limón said his plant recycles all plastic products and turns them into polypropylene material. Recyplast receives all different sorts of plastics, from water bottles to hairdryers, before breaking them down into resin and cord. That mixture is then used to create polypropylene products like packaging or stationery.
The environment fair continues today and Saturday, running from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Antigua Adjauna is in northeast San José on Calle 23 not far from the Estación al Atlántico.