People don’t always recycle. But when they do, the results are often fascinating. After all, who knew you could build a lamp using a plastic bottle and bleach? The fact of the matter is, while big industries may pioneer sustainability, not everyone will follow suit. This is why Costa Rica aims to be the first country to eliminate single-use plastics by 2021.
The Central American nation intends to replace these wasteful, ocean-clogging items—such as plastic store bags, straws, coffee stirrers, containers and plastic cutlery—for biodegradable or water-soluble alternatives, or products made of renewable materials.
Costa Rica’s government is seeking help from both public and private sectors in performing strategic actions. The country has proven itself an environmental leader, using renewable energy and gradually becoming carbon neutral. However, its landscape is often a dumpsite for waste.
“Although the country has been an example to the world by reversing deforestation and doubling its forest cover from 26 percent in 1984 to more than 52 percent this year, today one fifth of the 4,000 tonnes of solid waste produced daily is not collected and ends up as part of the Costa Rican landscape, also polluting rivers and beaches,”
Single-use plastics are a problem worldwide, but Costa Rica hopes to lead by example. Though eliminating such a common material may be a struggle, the results may well be worth it.