Nosareño’s care about their environment, in the last two months there has been a dump road clean-up, roadside clean-up and the continued drive to fund and build a recycling centre, and now for the first time ever, electronic waste collection.
From July 14-15 between the hours of 8am to 4pm people can drop off at Hotel L’Acqua Viva their unwanted monitors, printers, photocopiers, servers, scanners, keyboards, mouse, fax machines, cellphones, cell batteries, dvd players, ipods and memory cards. Anything else won’t be accepted.
Randall Cortés is the manager at the hotel, the vice president of the Chamber of Tourism and the driving force behind the e-waste collection initiative. This collection is a pet project of his, “since I joined the chamber of tourism, this has been a plan of mine,” said Cortés. “There has never been an electronic waste collection program in Nosara.”
Electronic waste is a growing concern globally. Many electronic components contain poisonous compounds or heavy metals which, if not disposed of properly can harm the environment.
During a fire at the Nosara dump in 2009, a tv exploded due to high heat.
An average computer monitor, for example, can be up to 6% lead by weight and some electronic items contain up to 36 different hazardous chemicals, according to a report presented in South Africa by Susanne Dittke a chemical engineer and environmental consultant.
In Nosara, a 2007 study on garbage completed by Earth University found that 3.4% of the garbage in the dump was electronic. While it’s not a huge problem here yet, given the rate at which technology is incorporated into our lives that number is likely to go up.
Sustainable Nosara has teamed up with Cortés as well to help spread the word in the community through emails and flyers.
Marco Johanning from Sustainable Nosara thinks that though e-waste is not a major problem here yet, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared. “There isn’t a lot of electronics at the dump, but it’s not because people don’t have them,” he sais, “It’s because they keep them, because they don’t know what to do with old electronics.”
Cortés says the waste collected will be taken to a processing site in Carrillo de Guanacaste. TRISAN, the company which will be handling the electronics is a waste management company with four years of experience in electronic waste management, they are also ISO 14001 certified, an international designation which means they meet certain environmental conditions in their operations.
Cintia Marin Romero is in charge of TRISAN’s e-waste management program called “Bodeguita”, she says the facilities to recycle e-waste do not exist in Costa Rica. Instead, TRISAN works as a middleman collecting waste from various parts of the country then housing it one of its warehouses in either La Uruca, San Jose, Carrillo de Guanacaste or Muellas de San Carlos. The waste will then be shipped abroad to places, which have the facilities to properly manage it, according to Marin.
The cost of collecting and transporting this waste will likely be covered by the local branch of the Bank of Costa Rica (Banco de Costa Rica) according to Cortés. He said he has been talking with the manger at the Nosara BCR and they have expressed an interest in helping with the initiative.
Although electronic waste is not a major hazard in Nosara yet, Cortés hopes that through education and the collection drive in July it will stay that way.