Chilean children get inspired by recycling

A new program encourages Chile’s schools to increase recycling operations, with a new public-private partnership launched in the O’Higgins region.

Schools in the O’Higgins region are being encouraged to recycle through the Yo Reciclo campaign. Photo via Seremi de Medio Ambiente Región de O’Higgins/Facebook
Schools in the O’Higgins region are being encouraged to recycle through the Yo Reciclo campaign. Photo via Seremi de Medio Ambiente Región de O’Higgins/Facebook

Chile’s children are being encouraged to help the environment through recycling, with a new government campaign — backed by the company Rec MetalPlas — further boosting the incentive to recycle.

To mark the International Day of Recycling, Chile’s Environment Minister Pablo Badenier launched the “Yo Reciclo”, or “I Recycle,” campaign, which looks to increase the environmental awareness among Chilean schoolchildren.

“Increasing the percentage of waste that is recycled is good for Chile, and for each one of our regions,” the minister said as he gave the go ahead to the program.

The launch event was held on May 17 in Rancagua’s Parque Comunal, with 110 schools in the O’Higgins region now added to the program. An extra 400 recycling containers will be made available throughout the region, with a mobile service to pick up deposits from the areas that are isolated from the recycling stations.

Aside from the usual recyclable items such as glass, plastic and cardboard, for the first time citizens of the region will be able to leave electrical items and batteries to be made into new products.

“Today there are many citizens that are conscious of caring for the environment, but we needed these collection centers where you can recycle,” said Morín Contreras, governor of the O’Higgins region. “We believe this milestone is the beginning of great work for the environment in the region.”

The campaign will benefit the communities of Rancagua, Machalí, Graneros, Doñihue, Requinoa y Codegua, running alongside a student recycling contest. The first such contest was held in the region last year, with 26 schools and kindergartens competing to see who could recycle the most.

First prize was won in 2013 by Jardin Creando Sueños in Mostazal, which averaged 80 pounds per student, with an impressive total of 6766 pounds. The new campaign has opened up opportunities for even more schools to get involved and do their part to improve the environment in Chile.

The latest initiative is one of many spreading throughout Chile. Among the most exciting are a new Ecopark in the southern suburbs of Santiago, which will provide greater options for recycling as well as new venues for entertainment and physical activity.

New businesses are also focusing on making the most of sustainable materials. For instance the innovative designers at De Tal Pallet make furniture from recycled wood pallets, while Bureo Skateboards have managed to create skateboards from recycled fishing nets.