An innovative sustainability partnership is bringing eco-friendly lifeguard stations made of recycled plastic wood to enhance safety on beaches across Costa Rica.
The alliance between local nonprofit The Clean Wave Foundation and manufacturing company IPS was announced last week during The Clean Wave Foundation’s 6th anniversary events in Santa Cruz, Guanacaste.
The plastic wood stations aim to provide lifeguards with durable infrastructure while also repurposing plastic waste that litters Costa Rica’s picturesque beaches.
Foundation President Andrés Bermúdez called the project “a clear example of a circular economy” during the announcement. “Plastic, typically seen as a pollutant, is now being used beneficially,” he stated.
The ambitious plan is to install the upcycled plastic wood stations on beaches in the provinces of Guanacaste, Puntarenas, and Limón. Target locations include tourist favorites like Manuel Antonio National Park, surfing hotspots such as Playa Negra, and family beaches like Ventanas.
During beach cleanups, The Clean Wave Foundation collects plastic waste and delivers it to manufacturing partner IPS. This plastic debris then transforms into weather-resistant planks and posts for the lifeguard towers.
“We achieve a double purpose: removing beach trash and repurposing it,” said Bermúdez. IPS representative Otto André emphasized that their process “allows real use of the thousands of tons of plastic waste overrunning our communities.”
Plastic wood is heralded as a sustainable alternative to lumber. The recycled plastic material can be reshaped into boards, rails, and poles with great structural integrity to substitute wood.
Local residents are excited about the potential for the plastic wood lifeguard stations to reduce waste while keeping beachgoers safe. The durable and eco-friendly towers showcase innovation and sustainability for visitors as well.
With pristine shores that draw over 3 million tourists annually, Costa Rica hopes the forward-thinking lifeguard station project will inspire further environmental initiatives in the community.