Solving Plastic Pollution in Costa Rica

CRDC Global, Pedregal and UNDP partner to solve plastic pollution in Costa Rica

  • Initiative seeks to solve the “tragic” plastic problem in Costa Rica: non-reusable plastics that are not recycled or reach landfills.

  • Alliance will coordinate national efforts to remove 200 thousand tons of tragic plastics from land and marine ecosystems by 2030.

  • Processing plant in PEDREGAL will receive the majority of non-recoverable plastics to transform them into raw material for construction using CRDC Global technology.

  • Fences will be installed in rivers to collect plastics and speed up the cleaning process.

  • Recycling companies, the private sector, organizations and citizens in general are urged to join together to recover non-recoverable plastic so that it can be converted into construction materials.

Plastic pollution is one of humanity’s greatest environmental challenges and represents a major challenge for vulnerable populations that live near rivers or depend on coastal or marine ecosystems in Costa Rica. According to data from the Ministry of Health, more than 40 tons of plastic waste are not collected or captured by collection and recycling systems daily, this means that 314,000 tons of plastic waste have escaped into the environment so far this century. Non-reusable plastics that escape into the environment are called “tragic plastic”.


Going from landscapes with “tragic plastic” to Landscapes without Plastics is what the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), PEDREGAL, and CRDC Global are seeking with the project they launched today. The goal is to remove 200,000 tons of non-reusable plastic waste from the environment by 2030 . This will be achieved by raising public awareness, coordinating cleaning and recycling campaigns, and fixing non-recoverable waste in construction materials.


Televisora de Costa Rica, Delfino and the One Sea Foundation also joined the call of the public-private partnership and civil society to transform non-recoverable plastic pollution into employment opportunities for vulnerable populations.


“Our vision is to make Costa Rica the first country in the world to solve the tragic plastic problem. We have formidable allies and we want to organize a national campaign in which no one is left behind by participating in a historic solution that can inspire the rest of the world,” said José Vicente Troya Rodríguez, UNDP Resident Representative in Costa Rica.


Landscapes without Plastics: a national campaign. The project will promote and coordinate a media campaign and a logistics network throughout the national territory. Private and municipal collection and recycling centers will be included to increase the volume of recoverable waste they receive, and to serve as non-recoverable waste transfer centers to a processing plant in PEDREGAL in San Antonio de Belén, where they will be transformed into a premium raw material for construction, using CRDC Global technology.


The One Sea Foundation will develop a fundraising campaign to provide material incentives such as compactors or other types of equipment, and to support the financing of the transfer of non-recoverable waste to the processing plant.

The transformation of these non-reusable plastic materials will allow their reinsertion into the construction industry, where they will be used in the manufacture of concrete blocks and pavers, ready-mix concrete, and asphalt, among other construction products.


“This alliance will allow us to provide a definitive and sustainable solution to all plastic waste; allowing our country to continue positioning itself as a world benchmark in sustainable development and in the protection of the environment.” indicated David Zamora, Commercial Director of PEDREGAL and Technical Director of CRDC.


Televisora de Costa Rica will provide the first fence to be installed 150 meters downstream from the confluence of the Virilla River with the Torres and María Aguilar Rivers (the most polluted in the GAM) to collect plastic waste carried by the current. This first fence will be in operation by December 2022.

“Many thanks to our partners and to Costa Rica for being our friend and allowing us to give back to the country a small contribution for the well-being of all Costa Ricans,” said Paula Picado, representative of the channel. In addition, Delfino will support the awareness and communication campaign during the project period.

Landscapes without Plastics proposes the installation of 4 plastic waste collection fences in four of the most polluted rivers in Costa Rica: Virilla River, San Antonio Belén, Grande Tárcoles River, Orotina, Parismina River, Caribe and Térraba River, South Zone. For more information you can visit https://paisajesinplastico.cr/

If you wish to join this initiative, we invite you to fill out the following online form: https://paisajesinplastico.cr/campana/

Media contacts: Ingrid Hernandez Sanchez UNDP Communication Advisor (+506) 8320 8481 ingrid.hernandez@undp.org