The Honduras Gringos don’t usually get to see

Anyone that has visited Central America knows that trash is a REAL problem…indigenous peoples have not been taught the difference between throwing a banana peel in the forest from throwing a coke bottle…many countries lack the find / resources / facilities for organized trash collection…many people are starving or just barely surviving…why should they care about trash?

It’s shocking to Westerners to see beautiful mountain vistas littered with trash…and a shame. It often bothers me, too.

George, my host in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, decided to do something about it.

Told me how he started his business, INVEMA….he was attending school in the US, and his friends gave him some crap about his not recycling…he didn’t think much of it at the time, but when he returned to his home country, Honduras, and thought of opening a business, he remembered recycling.

George runs the largest recycling business in Central America.  INVEMA employs a whole bunch of people, but it does two things even more important:  1. it provides an income for a zillion people who might not otherwise have income, because they pick through trash and recycle what is recyclable and 2. George estimates that about 40% of the roadside trash is collected by these people and brought in for recycling–thus reducing the litter that is such an eyesore.

Pretty dang clever if you ask me.

The Tour:

The claw picks up a giant load of metal and the compactor makes this 300 lb. brick [edited from original post]

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 062

And spits one out abut once a minute

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 062

They also recycle plastics. Do you know that they have  to do a 6-step process in order to get all the glue and paper labels off?

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 066

Fly-away paper

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 062

Steam

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 062

Recycled Water. The capture rainwater, store it it huge vats, use it for a week, then release it without any chemicals in it.

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 062

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 062

Green plastics waiting for processing

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 071

Incoming bales of clear plastic (they have recycling collection facilities all over Central America)

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 072

A recycle-r entering the scales

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 062

More bales of plastic

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 074

Inside the main building

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 062

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 077

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 078

The recycle copper: it gets bought for $3/pound x 400 lbs., so each one of these bales is worth $12,000!!! [edited from original post] They keep these locked up with a guard in a special room. I didn’t count, but it looks like more than 12 bales…

George said they used to have insurance, but he found it cheaper just to hire armed guards.

SA_Trip_HONDURAS 062

Call me weird (I am!) but I found this really really fascinating, and am very grateful to George for the tour of San Pedro and surrounds every bit as much as the tour of his facility.

Leave a Reply