Chile’s capital launches website to raise recycling rates

Sumaverde.cl offers an interactive map with 350 recycling centers across Santiago, as well as government and citizen-generated tips on how to go green.  

Glass, plastic, cans, electronic equipment, batteries, paper, cardboard. . . do you know how to dispose of these materials in an environmentally responsible way in Santiago?

If not, don’t worry, because recycling in Santiago just got a whole lot easier with the launch of sumaverde.cl, a website that maps all of the recycling collection points across the Chilean capital.

The website is part of a project by the Chilean Ministry of the Environment to lend a helping hand to the country’s growing environmental awareness.

“We know that there are a lot of people who want to recycle, but don’t know where to do it or who to ask,” said Environmental Minister María Ignacia Benítez, at the project launch.

That’s where the website comes in, by providing an interactive map of over 350 points of recycling and waste collections around Santiago, and giving users the information that they need to dispose of recyclable materials responsibly.

And you won’t just find “official” information on the website; sumaverde is hoping to expand its service with contributions by Chilean citizens and aspiring eco-warriors across the entire country.

In the same spirit, ThisisChile.cl has compiled our own little list of suggestions for making your life in Chile that much more environmentally friendly:

1. Buy fresh, buy local

Santiago is located in the middle of the country’s breadbasket: the Chilean Central Valley, one of the most productive food regions on the continent.

In the fruit and vegetable markets that dot the streets of the capital you’ll find cheap, in-season, local produce. So why buy half-green bananas flown in from the other side of the world when you can get ripe berries or Chilean papaya grown just outside the capital?

2. Get on your bike

Like all big cities, Santiago’s streets are clogged with traffic and public transport can be an overly intimate experience at peak hours, but recent years have seen city planners roll out an impressive infrastructure of bike lanes and the emergence of a fun and enthusiastic bike scene. So what are you waiting for. . . get on your bike!

3. Say no to plastic bags

Supermarkets, corner stores, street fruit markets – Chilean grocers often insist on putting everything in a plastic bag as a sign of courtesy to the customer. Take a reusable canvas bag with you next time you go shopping and say no to disposable bags.

4. Put your trash to use

So now you know what to do with recyclable waste in Santiago. . . but what about all the rest of it? A revolutionary new idea has emerged in Latin America, proposing to turn waste into building materials. Several Santiago companies will collect your waste and turn it into schools, houses and plazas. For more information, click here.

This post is also available in Spanish