By Azucena Mazón and Shandra Keesecker-Rivero
Beyond aluminum cans, did you know there are companies in Puerto Peñasco that recycle plastic and cardboard on a daily basis?
While there’s not yet a strong culture of recycling in Puerto Peñasco, the company Soporte Ambiental Reciclados de Puerto Peñasco recycles up to 100 tons of plastic monthly, which is then exported to Baja California and at times from there to China, South Korea, or India. Indeed, the water bottles one may toss out can be recycled and reused, possibly within a piece of clothing or even toys.
Luis Horacio García, Director of Soporte Ambiental, whose collection site is located at Blvd. Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez #285, details locally less than 2% of trash is taken to recycling. This is particularly true for plastic water and soda (PET) bottles, though cardboard is yet another important material.
García explained of all the recycling material his company gathers, 97% of this comes from the local landfill while only 3% is brought in from the community itself. Curiously, he added, U.S. residents or visitors to Puerto Peñasco represent most of those from the community who separate out plastics and take these to the recycling plant.
The founder of Soporte Ambiental, which began in 2009 with just 3 employees, a scale, and a car to transport material, determined that more than 30 people now live off the “business” of separating recycling products from trash at the city’s land fill, along with those that receive the material at recycling centers. In February 2010, Soporte Ambiental entered into an agreement with the City of Puerto Peñasco and the Municipal trash service to buy recyclable materials from the landfill. By doing so, sustainable work was made available to over 10 families, who continue to separate material today.
While the work deals directly with trash, the recycling business itself works under strict health guidelines and export specifications. Garcia noted different projects are currently in the works to promote activities among students, families, and the general public to encourage a culture of recycling.
Soporte Ambiental Reciclados de Puerto Peñasco currently receives (clean, por favor):
- Plastic (of various types)
- Copper, bronze, tin, iron
While the company does not presently pay for receipt of glass bottles, Luis Horacio noted they will take the glass as they are exploring recycling options for the future.
The company’s mission statement concludes, “what began as a small project, is now a solid and stable business, which is progressing slowly but with tremendous enthusiasm and above all environmental responsibility.”