Dominican Republic increasingly on the road to recycling

Walking through the streets of the capital, commercial establishments, parks and even entertainment centers, it is increasingly common to see at least three boxes with indications for the population to sort the disposable waste they use every day.

According to the Dominican ecological platform Green Love, “recycling is an excellent way to show social responsibility, reduce the carbon footprint and be a responsible consumer”.

Both public and private institutions have implemented recycling in their spaces.

According to reports requested from the Transportation Reorganization Office (Opret), in 2021, 266,955 Tetra Pak containers, aluminum cans and plastic bottles were recycled in the Santo Domingo Metro facilities.

These machines are located at the Concepción Bona, Eduardo Brito, Juan Pablo Duarte, María Montez and Centro de los Héroes Metro stations. The most recycled material was the plastic bottle with 183,369; followed by aluminum cans with a total of 52,562 and Tetra Pak containers with 31,024.

This waste is recycled with Recybot, the first automatic recycling machine created in the country.

“Users deposit their containers and receive an incentive in return consisting of a Dominican peso recharge on the travel card for every four containers deposited,” the institution informed.

On the other hand, the Mayor’s Office of the National District carries out every year the collection of plastic bottles in neighborhoods in exchange for toys. So far it has been carried out on two occasions, the first in January 2021 when 1,042,000 plastic bottles were collected and in January 2022, with the delivery of 1,614,000.

According to the Directorate of Innovation and Special Projects of the Mayor’s Office, these plastics were delivered to the company Eco-Clear Dominicana for the management and recycling of this waste.

In addition, as part of the activity, the sponsoring companies contributed toys, while the Mayor’s Office contributed 1,605,537 pesos for production and logistics.

The Punta Cana Group also has a recycling program called “Zero Waste”, considered the first and largest solid waste management program in the Dominican Republic.

In 2007 the Punta Cana Group built the Recycling and Incineration Center (CRI), where waste is separated.

According to data provided by this organization, since then more than 17 thousand tons of solid waste have been recycled, which have subsequently been converted into 83,556 cubic meters of unused landfill and 58,771 cubic meters of carbon dioxide not produced as a pollutant to the atmosphere, also generating more than 70 tons of organic fertilizer per year.

Likewise, in 2018 alone those wastes produced by airplanes, hotels, bars and restaurants, golf courses, electricity companies, industrial laundry in Punta Cana were recycled and transformed into natural compost. This resulted in 60 percent of the waste being diverted from the local landfill.

Cervecería Nacional Dominicana has the “Recicla 100+” program, with which it has distributed at least 550 collection centers throughout the country.

“The objective of the program is to be able to collect 1 million pounds of PET waste monthly throughout the country, equivalent to 20 million plastic bottles, which is the amount of PET we use each month for packaging our products,” the company states on its website. These resources are then sent to Peru.

How to recycle?

Each material must be recycled in a particular way.

According to the Green Love platform, paper (magazines, newspapers, books…) should not be crumpled.

In the case of Tetra Pak, it should be disassembled, crushed and cut, rinsed and then deposited in the corresponding bin. And, if it is a carton, it should be uncovered and unfolded.

Not all glass can be recycled. Only green or amber bottles, cups, glasses, product containers, among others. However, mirrors, windows, light bulbs and lampshades cannot be recycled.

Aluminum cans should be uncovered, drained and then crushed.

By 2020, the Dominican Republic had generated 413,898 metric tons, according to a sustainability report by the Inter-American Development Bank.

Estimates indicate by 2030 93.7 percent of waste in the Dominican Republic will be mismanaged and that we will accumulate an average of 409,798 metric tons.

Figures for 2050 indicate that discarded resources will be 449,328 metric tons.

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