National Clean-up Day in Costa Rica

This Sunday, while thousands of people were marching in NYC and other major cities around the world, Costa Rica had its national clean-up day in communities, rivers, lakes, beaches, and oceans. Designed to collect recyclable material as well as trash, the program was organized in part by the Ocean Conservancy and Terra Nostra, and sponsored by relevant government agencies. Xandari invited community members to join in to work around the roads in Tacacorí and the neighboring town of Tambor, and including four hotel employees and myself we had forty-five people come out from 7am-11am to pick up and sort trash. Many of these individuals were young children and teenagers, which was an encouraging sight!

Part of the street before trash pick-up

On Saturday, a team of thirteen hotel employees had also gone out along the Tacacorí river, and they collected a total of twenty-two pounds of plastic, forty-four pounds of glass, ninety pounds of scrap metal (tins, car parts, etc.), two-hundred pounds worth of car tires, and four-hundred and sixty-two pounds of just trash (clothing and other non-recyclable waste). The next day, the group of forty-five combing the streets found a hundred and twenty-seven pounds of plastic, a hundred and nineteen pounds of glass, sixty-six pounds of paper and cardboard, and six-hundred and six pounds of trash. In total for the two days, that’s about half a ton of trash, not even including the recyclable material!

Volunteers enjoying the compensation for a hard morning’s work: lunch and starfruit juice.

About forty percent of all waste collected was recyclable, and will be further sorted and sent to recycling centers from Xandari, where we already have a dedicated team of waste managers who sort through the hotel’s by-products for recycling. A shout out goes to everyone who helped out this weekend and especially to Sheryl Verley, who runs Xandari’s environmental program and took the photos above!

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