Plastic on our beaches! The beaches in Guerrero, Mexico, and others on our continent are under a “man-made attack” from plastic bottles! On the average, people in North America – Canada, the USA, and Mexico — use 2.5 million bottles of plastic every hour. If this rate continues, by 2050 our oceans will contain more plastic than fish!
Our oceans will soon have more plastic bottles than fish!
Plastic on our beaches! No one knows this better than the surfers who come from around the world to enjoy the warm beaches of the “Costa Grande” (Big Coast), a region that stretches along the Pacific Ocean from Acapulco to the northern border of the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Travelers are familiar with Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Petatlán, Barra de Potosi, Troncones, Salidita, and other beach and surfing communities in this region.
The Azulita Project, operated by surfers and volunteer residents, has created a plastic recycling program that generates profits for people who pick up and clean plastic bottles from the beaches. The organization buys plastic at a premium price of $2.50 pesos per kilo (about $0.15 USD) from local residents who are encouraged to collect and recycle plastic waste rather than burning it or tossing it into unmaintained open trash piles.
Local families can earn money from cleaning up plastic and selling it to the Azulita Project.
The Azulita Project is working to create a replicable, sustainable business model that provides economic incentives and social support to combat one of today’s most serious environmental threats: marine plastic pollution.
The Azulita Project also conducts educational programs about recycling and sustainable tourism. This photo is from a presentation at the Universidad Tecnológica de la Cost Grande in Petatlán, Guerrero, about 45 minutes south of Zihuatanejo.
Since the start of Azulita Project’s innovative purchasing and education programs, recycling participation has dramatically increased and plastic pollution has noticeably decreased in Guerrero’s Costa Grande region. Project team members purchase plastic waste from residents and then clean, process, and compress the plastic at Azulita’s plastic collection facility in Los Llanos, Guerrero. When the team has processed and baled 10 to 15 tons of plastic, it is shipped and sold to a recycling facility near Guadalajara, Mexico.
The plastic is processed at Azulita’s collection facility and then shipped and sold to a recycling company.
See this short film we produced with @OutsideTV with former longboarding world champion Kristy Murphy as she explores surf, community, organic farming, and the Azulita recycling project.
What you can do to help!
The plastic buy-back program and operational expenses cost more than the income generated by selling the processed waste plastic. The Azulita Project relies on significant donations and sponsorships from private donors and corporate partners to maintain and grow its education programs and plastic collection facility.
The Azulita Project is very grateful for donations and welcomes questions about other ways to get involved! Go to: http://www.azulitaproject.org/
For more information about Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and the surrounding areas, see: