13 Mar 2019
We all like to do the right thing, and part of the right thing, right now is to recycle as much of your waste as you can no matter where you are in the world. Plastic, paper, cans, organic waste and more can be put to good use if you know how to dispose of your garbage thoughtfully. For many Americans and Canadians, garbage separation and recycling is a way of life. You separate your garbage, put it on the curb and the city will take your recycled garbage and dispose of it for you. In Mexico, recycling is a little bit different. It is easy to do if you know how. New country, new culture and new norms. So here is the low down on how to recycle on your vacation. The recycle dance is a bit different if you are in a hotel or in a vacation villa so check out which option best suits your vacation plans.
Hotel Recycling in the Riviera Maya
Each city in the Riviera Maya has different recycling programs. that means each location will have different ways of recycling. When staying at a hotel, it is the hotel’s responsibility to ensure that they are recycling. So ask, when making a reservation find out how they are recycling and what you can do as a guest to help make recycling easier for staff and hotel owners. Working together is the best way to be a mindful traveler. If you don’t ask how will you know.
Recycling Tip – Employees will collect aluminum cans (aka beer and soft drink cans) as they will be paid by the local junk shop/depot for these items. If anything, separate out your aluminum for the employees and guaranteed these items will not go into landfill.
Vacation Rental Recycling in the Riviera Maya
Ask the booking agent how you can recycle in your vacation villa. If you are renting a condo, ask the property manager how they recycle in the building.
Separate out your garbage to make the recycling process easier and read below for recycling programs for each city in the Rivera Maya. If you have people cleaning your villa, offer all of your aluminum cans so they can take them to the depot and get money for the metal. (love this idea that people can make money returning metals that would otherwise go to landfill)
Puerto Morelos Recycling – Each Saturday visitors and residents can bring their garbage for recycling to the Town Square from 9 am to 2 pm. Items that can be recycled include glass, PET, Plastic, paper, cardboard and electronics. This process, though different from our North American standards is a fun way to participate in the act of recycling
Playa del Carmen Recycling – As big as this city is, the recycling program is community based and a bit more prehistoric than we would like. There are three places that will take your garbage to be recycled, and we never said this would be easy. Parque la Cieba across the highway at 1st street south and 60th street will accept garbage to be recycled 5 days a week. Glass, PET, plastic and paper is accepted. ON the 1st of each month the City accepts garbage for recycling in the main square on 20th street between 8th and 10th. On the 15th of each month, or the Saturday closest to the 15th, Kilo Verde has a moving recycling drop off program where each kilo of recycled garbage will be traded for a plant! Super cool idea, just wish that their location and dates were a bit easier to follow.
Puerto Adventuras Recycling – Recyclable objects are picked up each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at your home but need to be placed in a clear garbage bag. It is also suggested that you put your garbage to be recycled out in the morning of the pick up day so the Municipal garbage men do not include it in their early morning pick up, really early morning pick up.
Akumal Recycling – Recycling in Akumal is conducted by CEA, Centro Ecological Akumal. They have a pick up service at villas but request that the villa or home owner donate 200 pesos for this service per month, a small price to pay for such exceptional service.
Tulum Recycling – A committee in Tulum has started a new Recycling center in the town of Tulum that will be a full service recycling facility run by residents, the local government and local businesses. Recycling has been done in Tulum for a few years but the conditions of the recycling plant were not up to standards. Thanks to a committed group of citizens and city officials the new recycling depot will be up and running shortly with methods of collection outlined soon on their Facebook page. In the meantime, hotels do recycle and a few smaller hotels will compost your organic garbage!
This system is very different from what many are used to in other countries. Road side pick up is a blessing and hats off to the smaller cities that have been able to make this a reality. More importantly is to learn the nuances of recycling that are inventive and creative here in the Riviera Maya.
The most important part that we love is that recycling is possible, though cumbersome, visitors are as enthusiastic about recycling as local residents and the more people recycle, the more facilities like the one in Tulum will develop. When there is a need and demand, the facilities will be built and systems become more sophisticated. So help to great the demand for better recycling programs that are convenient, easy and similar to what many of us are used to!