Precious Plastic: La Carpio

What is Precious Plastic?

Precious Plastics is a worldwide movement founded by the Dutch designer Dave Hakkens. This movement enables individuals and small communities to recycle their plastic themselves and put the material to use in the everyday lives creating a source of funding for various projects in their communities.

In total, there are four machines: The shredder, the Extrusion, The Injunction and the Compressor.

With the experience we gained over the last months working with the machines in Costa Rica we were able to connect with more likeminded organisations and individuals, who share our passion for circular economy systems.

Precious Plastic in Costa Rica

One of the most inspiring NGOs that we got to collaborate with is the Costa-Rican NGO Madre Tierra Verde.

They began to work with Precious Plastic in 2019 and exposed on various Events, such as PRE COP 25, which is a preparatory meeting for the Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Climate Change Convention (UNCCC). They began to work together with the Dutch Embassy and OIM to bring more circular economy projects and Precious Plastic workspaces to new communities in Costa Rica.

The Precious Plastic Project in La Carpio, Costa Rica, is one of many new Precious Plastic Workspaces in the country. In the future new communities all over the country will receive those new and innovative plastic recycling tools.

What makes La Carpio so special?

Not many people living in Costa Rica have ever heard of La Carpio.  Even fewer have ever visited it.  There is a good reason why.

La Carpio is a district of San José that lies to the west of Hospital Mexico.  It is one of the poorest places in all of Costa Rica.  It is also one of the most dangerous.

La Carpio is a remote section of San José, Costa Rica’s capital, between two very polluted rivers and next to the city’s massive landfill.  It is where thousands of refugees from the Nicaraguan civil war of the 1980’s and 90’s have settled. They are mostly undocumented immigrants, and they have been mostly ignored by the governments of San José and Costa Rica.

Nowadays there are about 35,000 residents tightly packed into an area that is characterised by appalling poverty, high unemployment, a high crime rate, and homes made from packing crates and corrugated tin. Most of the current residents are Nicaraguans or their children.

Over the past twenty years there has been much progress.  Some (but not all) of the roads have been paved. Most of the homes now have water and sewage connections from the city.  Most of the homes now have cement (as opposed to dirt) floors.  A medical clinic has been established and some schools have been built.


First steps for the Precious Plastic workspace

Over the last four moths Madre Tierra Verde and Partners have been working on turning the recycling space in La Carpio into a proper Workspace that can receive the machines. A new cement floor was built, electricity was installed and safety precautions were taken.

Yolanda Gonzales, the leading force behind the recycling space is happy and excited to soon begin to work with the machines and be able to transform most of the plastic waste into new profits.

On the 30th of April 2020 Madre Tierra Verde delivered the first Plastic Recycling machines at the Recycling Center. We were there and captured this special moment of hope!

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