Banana and plantain production generates a lot of plastic waste that, if not properly managed, can have a strong environmental impact. The region of Uraba, one of the main producers of Musaceae in Colombia, generates 12,000 to 18,000 tons of plastic waste per year.
With the aim of protecting the region's fauna and flora and valuing this waste, the Mayco company has launched an initiative that seeks to take advantage of recyclable plastic waste and, specifically, the one that isn't properly separated in the garbage.
The purpose of this initiative is to process 200 to 250 tons of plastic per month, generate employment, and consolidate a production system that links the entire process to avoid environmental impact and take advantage of plastic waste: collection, handling, transformation, and commercialization of products and by-products used in agriculture.
Mayco is currently taking advantage of nearly 10% of this plastic waste, especially the plastic bags that are used to wrap banana and plantain bunches. These actions have not only benefited 86 families in Uraba, but have also prevented polluting the area and aquatic ecosystems.
Mayco wants to double its scope by recovering 2,500 to 3,000 tons of plastic a year doubling their working capacity from 35 to 53 female heads of households and going from 22 direct employees to 33 workers at the Manizales recycling plant. The goal is to use the recycled plastic to make useful materials for the agricultural sector as Mayco has the only "environmental license in the west of the country, and can apply its knowledge in the transformation and proper management of toxic waste,” as stated in their website.
New jobs, less environmental pollution and less pollution of aquatic ecosystems; this is an initiative that must be applauded in an area where the waste management is not adequate and where there is a lot of plastic. Recycling emerges, then, as a great new opportunity for the region and the environment.