Las Pilas Community Recycling Center
Las Pilas is located near the highest point of the country, la Zona Alta, at about 2,100 meters (nearly 7,000 feet) above sea level. It is situated right on the Honduran border, and there is just one main road down the mountain to the closest town, one hour away by bus. The community has a huge waste problem; trash lines the streets and attracts flies and animals, and recycling is virtually non-existent. Without a proper place to sort recyclables from trash, everything gets sent to an incinerator and burned, which is not very eco-friendly.
This project will lead to the installation of a recycling shed on school property to hold and sort recyclable materials. All garbage on school property will be sorted by recyclables and trash, and community members will also come to deposit their recyclables at the school. Trucks will come by weekly to purchase the recyclables from the school, with the funds being used to improve the school. Students will also be provided with important lessons on recycling and waste management.
The recycling center in Pilas is officially opened and nearly full with recyclables that the students have collected. Parents have jumped on board with the project right away as well, sending potato sacks full of cans and bottles with their children each day to be recycled. The teachers have taken full ownership of the project and have created schedules in their classrooms for when the materials are brought to the recycling center, and who is in charge of what. Murals have been painted with nature imagery and positive slogans and messages to remind students and the community to recycle. Each grade participated in a school-wide recycling competition, and the winners were rewarded with a field trip to a children’s museum. Each week moving forward, recycling will be collected and sold to raise money for the school. So far, the school has collected and sold 250 pounds of recycling.
"In this short time, I can see attitudes and behavior around trash management changing drastically, and the community taking responsibility for keeping their environment clean. The children have been the backbone of this project. I see them reminding their parents to recycle, creating trash separation in their homes, and leading their community to change habits." - Meghan, Peace Corps Volunteer
"As the science teacher in Las Pilas, I work with the students to teach them about protecting the environment. Now with the new recycling center, it helps us to enforce what we teach, and train the students to be more conscious about their actions." - Marina, Project Leader
"I really like that we have a recycling center at the school. We all use it now. We make money with the bottles and cans we sell, and can use it to buy important things for our class." - Genesis,15, Project Participant