Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Challenges of Being Green

(Image obtained from:

As strange as this may sound, one of the things I miss about living in New York is recycling! Unfortunately, it is virtually nonexistent here in Puerto Rico. The only recycling bins I've seen were located in El Morro, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Viejo San Juan. Perhaps, in the eyes of visitors, it might portray Puerto Rico as a environmentally friendly island. Do not be fooled.

According to the EPA, compared to the mainland U.S, Puerto Rico generates more waste per capita. In fact, the "Island of Enchantment" is one of the largest generators of waste in the world. Unbelievable! Recycling rates are also much lower, officials estimate it to be at 15% , which is just half of what the U.S recycles. Obviously, the government should do more. When Wal-Mart and Pepsico, two of the largest corporations in the world, take matters into their own hands and join forces to initiate their own recycling initiative in Puerto Rico, it just goes to show how bad the situation is.

Although the local government has not put the environment on top of its agenda, the private sector has not done an adequate job either. For quite some time, we've been looking for a waste company which can offer us recycling services, as we need it for our business. We've made several calls without any luck. Some just didn't bother returning our calls, while others were simply not interested, as we don't produce enough recyclable waste for them to make a profit. I never imagined recycling could be so frustrating, but when there's a will, there is a way.

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