Precious Plastic wave in South America 🌊
Mattia travelled across South America to meet the most exciting workspaces in the continent.
From December to April I (@mattia-io) travelled across South America, officially to enjoying some deserved holidays after launching Version 3, but in reality on a secret mission to meet as many Precious Plastic people as I could. What’s the point of spending 4 months on the beach anyways 🤔, might as well do something useful, ain’t?
Warning, this post contains many pics with me in it, sorry 😇
This incredible opportunity helped me (and Precious Plastic) to learn more from people on the ground, understanding real problems, receiving specific feedbacks, discovering weak points, hearing frustrations and listening to plans & ideas on how to eradicate plastic pollution from the South American continent. All the while enjoying outrageously good avocados 🥑 and açai 🤤
Overall across South America I encountered a phenomenal excitement and energy around Precious Plastic. Actually, some of the first workspaces back in 2016 were in South America. Today, we have some 40 workspaces across the continent. However, what’s even more exciting is the huge amount of people in the process of creating a workspace. The next few months should see lots of new pins on our map 🚀. But first, let me introduce you to some people I met along the way country by country.
I started off my trip in Colombia, unique country with deep scars from decades of civil war. After a quick meeting in Bogota with people coordinating efforts in Colombia, I headed over to Cali, home of Pablo Escobar and the biggest drug cartel in history.
In Cali, a great little project has been underway for the past year or so led by Rommy and her team at Ecopazifico. Their goal is to create a number of shredder workspaces across the Pacific coast of Colombia, one of the poorest regions, often forgotten and with little recycling at all. They recently successfully carried on a major clean-up operation in Juanchaco, a paradise pacific beach full of plastic. Together with local NGOs and the logistical help of the Colombian military Ecopazifico took this great opportunity to raise awareness among the younger generations and managed to clean up 11 tons of plastic waste. Freaking amazing! Go ahead guys, full support from everyone here 🙌
Drone footage of the beach cleanup form Ecopazifico.
In Rio de Janeiro I hang out for a few weeks with Bruno and his team at Plastico Precioso. The carioca team was the first one to seriously get involved with Precious Plastic at the beginning of 2016 when they created a cool souvenir for the Olympics 2016 in collaboration with WWF to educate tourists around the problem of plastic. Nowadays, they spend their time teaching a Precious Plastic program at IEDS rio to students that will go on creating future products for our society. Great work. Beyond all this, they also managed to work with companies to create super-cool-updated-pp-machines that they, unfortunately, are not able to share due to silly corporate greed 😡. Keep rocking caralhos!
La Fabrica 🇺🇾
My visit to Uruguay was very short but I still gave me the chance to visit the guys at La Fabrica in Montevideo. By the time I was there they just finished setting up their project and were beginning to experiment and give workshops making funny boomerangs (that still wouldn’t come back 😤). They also were very proud to be the first ones to introduce me to the mate culture, pervasive in the region 🤣.
Visiting Argentina was very powerful. I met dozens of people working on Precious Plastic between Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Mendoza. Incredible energy, huge community and great projects on the pipeline. I was particularly pleased to meet Precious Plastic Cordoba, a very motivated team of designers trying to push a creative/environmental revolution in their town through collaboration. I am personally very excited about their research into a ceramic mould, which I heard is already proving to be working great!
The final stop was Puerto Varas in Chile where we set up a Precious Plastic Pilot. Before that, I managed to meet the guys at Casa Plastica, a team of three super talented designers pushing the boundaries of plastic recycling in Santiago de Chile. They also managed to make me try the worst beer in my life topped with “Leche de tigre” 🐯. Jokes aside, they now managed to dedicate more time and efforts to the project dedicating their life to recycling plastic. Good luck hermanos!
Puerto Varas 🇨🇱
To conclude our visit in Puerto Varas we made a little event for people recycling plastic in Chile to come an visit us, meet each other and talk of about ways of working with plastic. Beyond our expectations we have 30-something people coming from all corners of Chile. People travelled for over 1000km just to attend. Hats off 😘 We had the chance to speak with people from universities, private businesses, NGOs, individual projects, recycling industry and, of course, more people from the Precious Plastic community. We learned a lot. Amazing!
I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to meet so many people from the Precious Plastic community throughout my journey. It was truly emotional and touching to experience first person how nice people in this community can be. A bunch of sapiens from all ages sharing a vision and ready to collaborate & help each other beyond plastic. I miss you all already so much 💙❤💛
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