The party is over in Palmares but the work goes on. The task now is to deal with the waste produced over the 13 days of festivities at an event that has faced strong criticism in the past on environmental grounds (TT, Jan. 12, 2007).
Coca-Cola FEMSA, the branch of the soft drinks giant that covers Costa Rica, has announced that it has collected 2.5 tons of waste plastic – the equivalent of 110,000 600ml bottles over the course of the fiestas.
That figure represents 56% of the bottles sold by the company at Palmares Fiestas. The waste, which was collected by 10 operatives throughout the celebrations, has been transferred to the company’s plastics division in La Valencia de Heredia, north of San José, where it will be sorted and ground up.
The company then plans to export the material to China where it will be recycled into polyester fabrics, packaging and solid plastics.
Despite Coca-Cola’s efforts, a large amount of waste is still headed for the dump.
WPP Continental, the company in overall charge of waste management at the Palmares festival told The Tico Times that they had collected 17 tons of waste throughout the festival.
Director of Operations Luis Solano confirmed,“ The tons of rubbish that we collected will go to landfill.”
Coca-Cola’s collection effort was part of the firm’s “Misión Planeta” initiative that has been running since 1998. The company says that the scheme “encourages a social consciousness about the importance of conserving the environment and reducing pollution, generating products from solid waste material.”
They said, “This type of program strengthens our policies of working with environmentally friendly technologies and training our partners in ways to protect our surroundings.
We are also encouraging leadership over environmental issues among those involved and constantly looking for opportunities to reduce the impact on our natural resources and climate.”