Plastic Free Travel in Mexico
So we finally arrived in Mexico 3 weeks ago. First week we explored Mexico City, stayed two nights in Cancun and now since two weeks we are in Playa Del Carmen. It is a very touristic town, but we are enjoying good internet;), the heat, the tropical rain. Eating yummy tacos and drinking fresh delicious juices. Meeting a lot of friendly and likeminded people. Doing Beach Clean Ups and watching pelicans who are diving for fish.
Another trip that shows me just how important it is to reduce our plastic consumption. To see the masses of people on the beach where turtles used to lay eggs is disturbing and sad, but that's something I can't change...
So let's talk some trash:
Zero Waste in Mexico is just not happening at this time!
They do have a few compost bins in town, and a few recycling bins for plastic etc, but if you take a look inside the bins it's mostly plastic in there. Not so much organic waste, or glass, or paper. Plastic and Styrofoam is the biggest amount of trash and that gets disposed in every kind of bin.
After talking to a few locals, I know by now that the city is trying to implement a recycling system, but in the end everything goes to landfill. And landfill here in Mexico means: Landfill in the jungle or close to the ocean. And after a heavy tropical rain like yesterday, I just don't want to imagine how much plastic got washed into the ocean...
I like to share this video with you, it's from Tulum, a city close to Playa Del Carmen that exactly describes the situation.
And that's why I am stressing about that we need to take responsibility about our own trash and we need to try to leave more barefoot prints on the beach than plastic foot prints when traveling!
There are a few private people collecting cans and bottles (mostly cans) to sell them to a recycling facility. Cans (Aluminium) is very well recycled and has a good value if they sell it, so if you like to drink sodas while being on an Island or another Tropical place without recycling/deposit for bottles, always go for the can and make sure to bring it to a collection point or leave it somewhere where people easily can collect them.
I actually found a place in Playa: Parque La Ceiba, where you can bring your recycling on 5 days a month. I am visiting soon and I will update what I find out, where they bring the recycling to, etc. So I am collecting paper and glass or if we gonna use cans or find plastic bottles or other plastic thats still good to recycle, to bring it to Parque Ceibas Recycling Collection.
Read the Blog Post about Parque La Ceiba here.
Everything else: toilet paper (you are not supposed to flush it here, like in South East Asia too), compost (they don't have any compost possibilities) and the plastic I pick up on beach cleans, will go to landfill here, and these are in the middle of the beautiful djungle:(....
Beach Clean Ups in Playa Del Carmen
I try to make clean ups whenever I am on a beach. At least a 5 minute beach clean.
And in the future I want to organize bigger clean ups wherever I am. But here in Playa I was happy to see that somebody already is organizing a regular Beach Clean Up every first Sunday a month! So no need to organize another one, I just participated!
Let me introduce you to Kay.
He is originally from Berlin, Germany, living in Playa since 6 years and organizing regular Beach Clean Ups in Playa Del Carmen since April 2017.
He has his own business: Kay Tours Mexico, where he offers private tours to the most beautiful places here in the area.
He started the Clean Ups because he realized that he is earning money by showing people the beauty of this area and it's natural resources. And while facing the plastic pollution on beaches and in nature reserves around, he wanted to make a difference.
He wants to give something back!
How awesome, a business man, making money "with" nature, giving back to nature. This should be normal, it's mostly not, thats why I am happy to have met another caring human who doesn't mind to get his hands dirty. Making a difference, leading by example!
He just didnt wanted to make one clean up a year, but a regular one. Every month.
In hope that hotels, bars, resorts, locals, will see it, will follow, will sponsor the clean ups in the future.
And also because the ocean spits out new plastic trash every day... It's just not done with a one time project anymore.
If you run a business in Playa, or if you know a business in Playa, or if you just live in Playa, share this Post. Ask people to join, to sponsor 5 gallon water container for the volunteers, to sponsor waste bags or Clean Up T-shirts to spread the word and share with the local newspaper.
You can find Kay Tours Mexico on Facebook, Instagram, and a Podcast on Soundcloud (this one particular Podcast I link to is an interview with me ;)
And here you`ll find all the informations and dates for the cleanups:
Every 1st sunday of each month (morning clean up)
Every 3rd saturday of each month (afternoon clean up)
Living Plastic Free in Mexico!!!
Plastic Free travel is possible here. When I say plastic free, I talk about all the daily plastic I can refuse, I can control. As usual you need to make some changes, but how boring would life be if you wouldn't ;) Some products are hard to find though, like cotton ear buds with a paper shaft (haven't seen any but we had some with us), or toilet paper in paper wrap (havent found them either) or soap and shampoo bars, but I found some eventually....
What you can do when traveling to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico?
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Hi my name is Jule
I am a nature and ocean lover. A passionate runner and minimalistic traveller. On this blog I share my experiences, thoughts and ideas about the "sustainable lifestyle" and how you can stick to this while traveling.
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